From Friday 5 to Sunday 7 April 2019 the Haemophilia Foundation of the ACT welcomed people with bleeding disorders and their families from the ACT and surrounds to a community camp, held at the Warrambui Conference Centre about 40 minutes from Canberra. This camp was made possible through a generous contribution from Deitter Stever, 13, from the South Coast, who had raised thousands of dollars from giving his long blonde hair the chop in August 2017 (see ABC story here bit.do/deitter-on-ABC ), as well as funding from ACT Health.
A lovely bush setting awaited those who joined, as well as activities for all interests. Health and well-being were themes with massage and morning Pilates sessions getting the day off to a good start. Later in the day some took a trip out to the neighbouring property, Yarrh Wines, to sample the local (liquid) produce. The kids worked hard at paper aeroplanes, first watching the movie ‘Paper Planes’ on the Friday night before a hotly contested paper plane making / flying competition the following day. Participants of all ages joined in activities such as archery, obstacle courses, frisbee golf, an Easter egg hunt, bush art and a very vigorous bush dance.
We were fortunate to be joined by HFA’s Suzanne O’Callaghan who shared some updates from HFA, including the different priority areas, advocacy work, and the agenda for the 2019 HFA conference in Sydney. It was lovely to see our patron Dr Richard Pembrey, Dr Nalini Pati and Haemophilia Nurse Anastasia Wilson come and join us - we thank them for being part of our community event.
One activity that was enjoyed by young and old was bush art. Before starting we had a brief talk about what bush art is, were shown pictures of some amazing items all made with objects found in the bush and were invited to make a start with the items that were already gathered. This included rocks and stones, bark, grasses, logs, sticks and twigs, and leaves.
The younger members of the group set to work eagerly, ably assisted by the adults present. Some chose to work on their own and others with a partner or two. Kathryn and Gabriella constructed a road, or maybe a railway, complete with bridges and cars and trains from Gabriella’s collection. Another group effort resulted in very clever vertical wood and rock gardens connected by twig or grass bridges and hosting plant life.
It wasn’t easy putting ideas into action. With no tools available other than hands and feet it was not always possible to find exactly the right piece of wood, or rocks that would sit snugly or branches that would balance in the right way. It was an enjoyable afternoon activity making use of natural materials.
Archery was the first organised activity after breakfast on Saturday. It drew a fair proportion of camp attendees, either because they were experienced archers, like Deitter, or were curious to give it a go.
The archery setup was geared for younger archers. A short uphill firing range, small and light recurve bows with a light draw weight (the amount of effort required to shoot the arrow) and arrows with blunt heads.
The kids had great fun and I was impressed how they quickly took in all the safety rules required. Well done to our instructor. Nevertheless, even closely supervised, there were lots of arrows heading for the bushes, into the ground or up the hill rather than into the targets. That meant safely taking photographs was a challenge. Eventually I set up a remote lens on a tripod in front of the archers and, ably assisted by Suzanne from HFA, controlled it safely from behind the firing line to take photos.
Date last reviewed: 12 July 2019