The Portsea Camp’s mission is to run and provide a venue for camps for rurally isolated, disadvantaged and special needs children who ‘need a break’. Week-long camps are run by the camp for 9-12 year olds during January and Easter school holidays and for 13 -16 year olds in September. These camps are exceptional events, particularly when numbers reach the January levels, with up to 280 children at each. 60 to 70 volunteers attend each camp to support the camp’s permanent staff. The range of activities has to be seen to be believed, the recreation program being second to none, pastoral care ensures all children – regardless of life experience, disability or disadvantage are fully supported and nurses attend every camp to administer prescribed medication. Transport is organised for children from distant parts of the state, and generally from the Melbourne metropolitan area.
All staff and volunteers have current Working with Children Cards.
The camp also subsidises the cost of children’s charities’ use of the site to run organisationally specific camps. Presently, five child and family support charities are taking advantage of this opportunity: AMAZE (Autism Victoria), Down Syndrome Victoria, Yooralla, Interchange (Outer East) and Arthritis Victoria. The camp is enthusiastic about developing this initiative and welcomes approaches from children’s charities seeking to use the facility on weekends.