By Katy Froud – Volunteer Coordinator
Not being able to go to camp this year has been disappointing for everyone – campers and volunteers alike, but the exciting creation of Camp in the Cloud has brought the mischief and magic of camp straight to the campers homes, so they can continue to enjoy special and fun experiences.
Volunteers are fundamental in helping Over The Wall create these magical experiences and we know from the messages of support we received, how sad they were that physical camps were cancelled this year. However, Camp in the Cloud has provided an exciting opportunity for volunteers to still interact with campers and for volunteers to help implement the therapeutic model of camp. They have also been vital in bringing some of the camp spirit to the online platform through aspects such as Cabin Chat.
Cabin Chat is an important part of the camp schedule. It’s a safe space providing time for campers to recognise and celebrate their achievements of the day. It gives them time to reflect on the positive skills and behaviours they have learned and demonstrated, all with the support of our volunteers. It was important to us to try and integrate as many aspects of our physical camps into Camp in the Cloud as possible, to ensure it maintains the same positive impact. Camper interaction with volunteers is a key part of this and this was reaffirmed by campers themselves during our pre-camp consultations which we held to help us understand what the most important part of camp was for our campers.
Cabin Chat takes place over each evening of camp, but in this short space of time, volunteers have seen campers become more confident and starting to participate after initially being shy and hesitant. Campers and volunteers have had a lot of fun in the process, with crazy challenges and lots of wacky face paint! Our incredible volunteers are the lynchpin of the camp experience and have truly brought their full selves to Camp in the Cloud.
With the successful launch of Health Challenge and Siblings Camp in the Cloud camps, the feedback from volunteers suggest that their experience – and that of the campers – has exceeded expectations. Camp in the Cloud provides a unique opportunity to reach more campers than our physical camps ever could and while we look forward to getting back to camp, we look forward to what the future holds for our new online platform.
Meanwhile, volunteering at Camp in the Cloud is a great opportunity to grow a different set of volunteering, digital and engagement skills, and we hope to have plenty more opportunities available to support our virtual camp journey in the future. Keep an eye on the website for news of what is happening next year and for opportunities to volunteer with Over The Wall. We can’t wait to see you at camp whether it is physically or virtually!