28 April 2014

Camp Leader Experience: Stephanie Hill

Posted in Camp life

Planning is in full swing for our June camping season. Every year, over 1,500 SU QLD volunteers run nearly a hundred camps across the state. These camps provide 5,000 children and teenagers with a fun-filled, positive time away from home.

We’ve asked one amazing volunteer camp leader, Stephanie Hill, who has been involved with SU QLD camps for an amazing eleven years, to share her experiences and exactly why she keeps coming back.

I have never been into camping. I have never been into camps. So when my friend Lauren invited me on SU QLD Winter SMADD all the way back in 2003 I don’t quite know why I agreed to go. As someone who never gave into peer pressure, her arguments must have been persuasive. And I have never looked back!

Now 11 years on, I have grown from a student attending a camp, into a full time working professional and volunteer camp leader in my spare time.

One of the great things about SU QLD camps, particularly these days, is that there is a camp for everyone. There are your general adventure and holiday camps, specialised adventure camps, camps just for girls or just for manly GENTS, and camps for people who don’t normally do camps – übertweak for the technologically minded, and SMADD (which stands for Song Music Art Drama Dance) for cushy artsy kids who don’t handle dirt so well…like me.

Anyway, eleven years later I am now one of the directors for Winter SMADD, working alongside a handful of leaders I met on my first camp and many more we’ve recruited along the way. Some of my fondest memories from camps as a camper were recording my first EP, meeting my second cousin (!), making many lifelong friends, and finding a sense of purpose in my life, which involved making music. Some of my highlights as a leader have been creating dances and seeing them performed to proud parents, being able to bless some campers over multiple years, making more friends, and seeing our (I co-direct with all-round good-guy Callum) vision for camp come to fruition. It’s also been amazing to see kids who were former campers develop leadership skills and depth of faith. I love helping them learn those skills.

I’m passionate about Winter SMADD because it seeks to both extend kids creatively, but give them a hope and a future that is bigger than their experiences of the daily grind, school stress, family difficulties and societal pressures. It is so rewarding to make a difference in both areas of the campers’ lives.

We’re gearing up for another fantastic Winter SMADD on June 30 and I am so excited to experience all these great things again. What can I say? After 11 years of this, I guess I’d recommend it!

To find out more about the camps available visit www.suqld.org.au/camps or to speak with someone contact Michaela Singer (Programs Development Officer) on  3112 6400.


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