Posted in SU QLD
The pre-teen years for girls are often a time of rapidly changing hormones, friendship pressures and self-consciousness.
They’re also the years where healthy mother/daughter relationships can become strained.
Chappy Cassie from Rochedale South State School saw this was affecting families in her community and decided to do something.
She started a small camp on Coochiemudlo Island, just off Brisbane’s east coast, and invited 15 mothers and daughters to spend some intentional time away together.
“Some parents were struggling to connect with their kids, particularly as they were entering their teen years. This camp was to show the daughters and mums they’re actually on the same team,” says Chappy Cassie.
“We talked about changes in their body and brains at this time in their lives, and were really intentional about making sure everyone felt they could talk and be heard.”
“There were sessions with focused topics such as ‘love languages’ and ‘managing conflict’, but also lots of time for beach walks and a wonderful art workshop.”
“We sent the pairs off with ‘conversation bingo’ to support talk around their relationship. It’s not always easy to be vulnerable so these prompts were a healthy way for pairs to talk heart to heart.”
On the last day, Chappy Cassie led the group to the ocean and they wrote words of truth on their arms and legs using the red rocks of Coochie – as has been done by Indigenous women in this place for thousands of years.
“We painted words like ‘worthy’, ‘beautiful’, and ‘valuable’ – it was a really special moment of saying we will remember these things about ourselves.”
In her experience as a school chaplain, Chappy Cassie walks alongside many pre-teens who have difficulty connecting with their parents.
“If they [the parent] had a distant or emotionally disconnected mum growing up, often they won’t know how to connect with their own daughter because they haven’t been shown,” Chappy Cassie explains.
“For this camp we really wanted to talk about the importance of nurturing relationships. I planned this camp to have a lot of freedom, because you need time and space for these bonds to form and strengthen.”
Camper Amelia, now in her first year of high school, says she got so much out of the experience.
“It was really nice to spend time with Mum doing fun things without any distractions. I also liked that I could share these experiences with other girls and their mums too. We made some good memories together.”
Through your support SU QLD camp experiences are building into the lives of young people and their families.
You can help keep this vital work going, head to suqld.org.au/donate