The Portsea Camp


What if my child gets homesick?

Evidence tells us that 15% of children who attend camp experience homesickness. In almost 90% of cases we are successfully able to help children to settle.

For children who have little experience being away from home, who are going through a difficult time, who were up early to catch transport to the camp and don’t sleep well on the first night, homesickness can be a big challenge. Camp can seem overwhelming. We are very aware of these issues and focus attention at the start of camp on assisting these children settle. Unless you direct us otherwise we will wait 24 hours before discretely contacting you to seek your advice. You may or may not think it best to speak with your child on the phone. Very occasionally children’s homesickness cannot be alleviated and you may need to organise for your child to be picked up. The camp is not in a position to transport children home except in extreme circumstances.

Are lollies allowed?

No, please do not give your child lollies to bring to camp. Found lollies will be taken from your child.

Can I contact my child?

With 280 children at camp, engaged in activities across the site and at local beaches, with the exception of emergencies it is impractical for us to enable this to happen. We do encourage you to write, send faxes or emails.

Please ensure that you put your child’s first and surname, and where possible identify which group they are with, eg. RSL or Swan Hill etc

Can my child contact me?

All children are given a free postcard to write home. Children wanting to phone home will generally be dissuaded except where homesickness or health issues indicate this is required.

How does the camp deal with bullying?

Children are advised on their first day that the camp does not tolerate bullying. Children are encouraged to advise adults if this occurs as bullies often keep their bullying secret. Evidence tells us that 93% of children never feel unsafe at camp and that of the 7% who may have felt unsafe and spoke to adults, their fears were resolved.

Can I (or others) visit my child?

An early visit, before a child has settled, might mean they decide to leave. That some children have visitors can distress homesick children who do not. And hence, visiting children is not encouraged.

My child is having a birthday during camp?

Rest assured we will make a fuss! A cake and party are certainly on the menu.

My child has a disability?

The camp site, being on a quite steep hill with few accessible accommodation rooms, is less than ideal for children with mobility support needs. We nevertheless do everything remotely possible to ensure that children are integrated into all aspects of the program.

My child has challenging behaviour?

We can all be challenging! – some of us a little more or a little differently than others. Please provide as much information as possible on matters that trigger mood changes and what strategies you / school has in place to assist. We will do our utmost to ensure your child is sensitively integrated into the camp.

Can my child bring a camera / iPod / electronic game?

Children are welcome to bring cameras which can be left with adults when not in use, but iPods, MP3 players, any electronic games or devices are not permitted.

What about a mobile phone?

Children aren’t permitted to bring mobile phones to camp but we will, of course, enable homesick children to make calls home on camp phones.

Children who need to leave camp early

Occasionally children who aren’t able to fit in to the camp experience will need to leave before the end of camp. This can occur because children have unresolvable homesickness, a contagious illness that cannot be managed by camp nurses or unchanging behaviour that is making the child or other camp participants unsafe. Parents / guardians will be expected to organise and fund transport of the child. Only in extreme circumstances can camp staff transport children home. Should this need to happen a minimum of two adults will travel with the child.

Can I alter travel arrangements for my child’s return trip?

Yes, but you will need to contact the camp and identify yourself.

Photography and privacy concerns

A select few adults are permitted to take photographs of children. These photographs are edited at the camp and the best are burned to a disc that each child receives. Not all children will have a photograph of themselves. Perhaps some were taken but were of poor quality, perhaps they simply missed out. Its simply not possible to ensure that all children have a photo, but we do make sure everyone gathers for an all-of-camp photo on the last full day.

We don’t take photographs of unhappiness and are very mindful of privacy issues.

Some children will be lucky enough to find images of themselves on our website in our annual report or in other marketing material.

Where custody requirements necessitate no photographs be made generally available, we endeavour to ensure that children receive specially prepared discs. All children are included in the large group photograph.

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