Camp Quality volunteers are an incredible bunch of passionate people who come from all walks of life, with some having first-hand experience with a childhood cancer diagnosis.
South Australia volunteer Shaun Li first heard about Camp Quality when he was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour as a kid. Years later, while completing studies at Flinders University, Shaun came across a recruitment advertisement for volunteers at Camp Quality’s programs – and the rest is history.
Shaun has been volunteering with Camp Quality for almost 15 years, having attended almost 60 programs, and is often known as the volunteer photographer on camps. He captures heart-warming pictures of families reconnecting, and campers trying new activities.
“My aim is to snap a special moment for every child during a camp – whether it’s an ecstatic moment overcoming an epic obstacle or a moment of quiet, introspective contemplation,” says Shaun.
When asked about his most meaningful moment as a Camp Quality volunteer, Shaun shared the story of photographing a Camp Quality family who had received a palliative diagnosis for their young child.
The family attended a Family Retreat organised by our Family Support Team, who were hoping to provide the family with an opportunity to capture their experience.
Shaun took photos of the family connecting, laughing, and embracing one another. “When I take photos, there is a lot of pure observation – I watch for little moments that we usually miss in everyday life. And what I noticed in that shoot was the dance between moments of heartache and sadness, cut through by spontaneous moments of laughter, love, joy and silliness.”
Volunteers often tell Camp Quality about how much they learn from campers, and how their stories strengthen and inspire their own resilience. Shaun had a similar experience at a Family Camp. He was on the high ropes with a young child who had become nervous – but volunteers, family members, and other kids quickly banded together to cheer her on. The encouragement and support saw her complete the challenge, gaining speed and confidence as she moved across the ropes.
Shaun himself was starting to feel fearful on the course but watching her move through the ropes gave him the courage to push on. “This is what Camp Quality is all about, having a warm, loving environment where everyone supports each other in the most inspiring way.”
Camp Quality’s South Australia Family Program Coordinator, Cristina Nazar, says Shaun is a valuable member of the volunteer community. “He is much loved and respected within the long-term volunteers, but he also goes out of his way to make new volunteers feel welcome. His good humour and easy-going nature makes our campers enjoy their time at our programs, and he is always willing to get involved in all activities”.
For anyone considering applying to volunteer with Camp Quality, Shaun says: “Hand to heart, joining Camp Quality has been one of my best life decisions. The sheer amount of fun, happiness, connection, and fulfilment I receive from it, is almost limitless”.