17 December 2018

Birrigai to host first Canberra Camp Magic for grieving children

| Ian Bushnell
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Feel the Magic founder James Thomas at Boundless where he launched next year’s first Camp Magic for bereaved ACT children. Photo: Supplied.

An organisation that specialises in helping children deal with the loss of a parent or sibling will bring its unique program to the ACT for the first time in 2019.

Feel the Magic, who provides grief education and support to bereaved children and their families will hold its first Camp Magic program at Birrigai Outdoor School on 5-7 April, 2019, and is calling for applicants and volunteers.

Feel the Magic Founder and Managing Director, James Thomas, who was in Canberra recently to launch the Birrigai camp, said there had been growing demand for the program over the past five years and strong support from the Canberra community for a camp in the ACT.

“We know that one in twenty Australian children have experienced the loss of a parent or sibling, and that loss is much more difficult to deal with around Christmas time,” Mr Thomas said.

The organisation says grieving children who have experienced the death of someone they love can feel isolated and alone, and require ongoing support in developing strategies to cope with and move forward with their lives following a significant loss.

Mr Thomas said Camp Magic was Australia’s largest and leading grief education and support program for bereaved children and teenagers between the ages of seven and 17.

Since its inception in 2015, it has supported hundreds of campers who are grieving the loss of a parent, sibling or legal guardian. Campers attend a transformational weekend-long program free of charge that combines fun, physical challenges with grief education and emotional support.

Volunteers have played a key role in Feel the Magic’s success, and Founder and Program Coordinator Kristy Thomas said the Canberra Camp would need volunteers as well.

“Much of the success we’ve had to date is because of our extraordinary volunteers, local businesses and organisations who support us by way of donations and general support and we can’t wait to work with the people of Canberra and Southern NSW to create a Feel the Magic Community,” she said.

“We are excited to meet our new families, campers, mentors and other volunteers come April next year, and we look forward to this being the first of many camps held in the Canberra region.”

The Canberra Camp Magic is seeking children to attend camp, volunteer mental health professionals to work as Talk Time Leaders and volunteer mentors to attend camp and support campers one-on-one.

Feel the Magic conducts camps in Sydney and Armidale, but is expanding into Queensland and Victoria.

Find out more at www.feelthemagic.org.au

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