A letter from Camp Quality CEO, Deborah Thomas
Dear My Kid-ness Reader,
We are finally at the end of 2020, and what an extraordinary and challenging year it has been. With the regrettable cancellation of many face-to-face services and fundraising events due to COVID-19, we are pleased to have landed where we are for the full year, as we remain cautiously optimistic for 2021.
I am very proud of how the Camp Quality team have collaborated to create new, complementary digital services that have enabled us to continue a range of programs throughout the shutdown. I take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us during this difficult time, including our kids and families, volunteers, staff, donors and corporate partners. With your support, we have managed to create some wonderful services and connections throughout 2020.
To finish off the year, here is a quick roundup of some of the wonderful things that have happened at Camp Quality over the past 12 months.
Firstly, our Happiness Hub, the home of our online programs’ content was launched in record time, a mere two weeks after the COVID lockdown commenced. It has been truly heart-warming to see this project blossom into the hub of collaboration, creativity and happiness that it is today. Thank you also to our fantastic families for your contribution and for sharing your tips around how to cope during isolation, something many have learned from firsthand experiences with cancer and compromised immune systems.
Not long after the Happiness Hub launched in March, we started development on our Puppet Digital Playdates, in partnership with the Monash Children’s Hospital, which are now successfully up and running. More recently we successfully launched our first, live-streamed Virtual Camps, complete with our Camp-in-A-Box activity kits generously delivered by DHL.
All these new online initiatives were piloted and launched for the long term, with the idea that they will continue to evolve and grow over the coming years. Not only are we well prepared should we experience another pandemic, but we can now offer our services to more families, more often, particularly those in regional areas where it may be more difficult to physically attend an event.
Other adaptations during COVID include offering our retreats for families in need of a break from cancer, as well as increasing the patient hours we sponsor for our Child Life Therapists in hospitals. We have also reinstated the Beads Of Courage program at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
During 2020, Camp Quality truly saw the wider community rally around our new digital fundraising initiatives, Camp In for Camp Quality, and Big Walk for Little Kids. Both of these campaigns were well received and raised funds well over expectations, and we can’t wait to run them again in 2021.
And while we have truly made the best of a less than great situation, we know that for a child whose life has been disrupted by cancer, there is nothing to replace the freedom of going away on a camp, or the distraction of having the Camp Quality Puppets come to their bedside in hospital, or pave the way for them to return to school.
I have to say that Camp Quality recently received the best Christmas gift, when we were able to start running our face-to-face events again in the last quarter of this year. I couldn’t wait to get straight in on the action and attend our Family Camp at Stanwell Tops and our Family Fun Day Christmas Party at KingPin in Melbourne. It was phenomenal to finally experience the magic of camp and I can’t wait for many more opportunities to get together with our families, volunteers and supporters in 2021.
Getting ready to brave the giant swing at Stanwell Tops
I take this opportunity to sincerely thank every one of you for helping us through 2020 and express on behalf of the team our best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas and brilliant New Year.
Camp Quality CEO.