Singer-songwriter and Australian Idol contestant Anthony Callea visited Abbotsleigh in December to support the annual Sony Foundation camp for children with physical and intellectual disabilities.
The final afternoon of the camp is always a highlight, where children and families enjoy lunch, a visit from Santa and entertainment from one of Sony’s artists.
Celebrating 10 years of holiday camps, Mr Callea was joined by Sony Music Entertainment Australia chairman and chief executive Denis Handlin, a founding member of the Sony Foundation that has raised close to $28 million since 1998 for youth-based causes.
The ABBOX of Fun camp runs for four days, hosted in alternate years by Abbotsleigh and Knox Grammar.
Staffed by Year 11 students, school parents, staff and local volunteers, the free, fun camp offers respite care to families and allows senior students to learn through serving others.
Service Learning is a core educational pillar of Abbotsleigh, ensuring girls receive a rounded education with exposure to global and national issues.
Challenging students to consider how they can positively affect their own and others’ future, the Service Learning program fosters empathy.
Abbotsleigh boarder Olivia Slack-Smith, Mudgee, was one of the Year 11 carers.
“I got involved in the ABBOX camp for a new and challenging opportunity and to share in the joy the children experience throughout the camp,” Olivia said.
“I learned a lot about myself, the patience and time required to care for a child with disabilities, and my perception of what disability means also changed.”
“Participating in the camp gave me an appreciation for the huge commitment and sacrifices parents make.
“Apart from having a great time, the children also had to step out of their comfort zones. My child had difficulties with communicating, vision, hearing and mobility, but we quickly learned how to best help and encourage her and we developed a great rapport.”
Headmistress Megan Krimmer congratulated the Sony Foundation for 10 years of holiday camps, honouring the passion and enthusiasm of staff and students from day one.
“We always aim to ensure we offer the best camp possible and we have averaged 25 campers a year and about 110 volunteers every camp,” she said. “The camp is only made possible because of the extraordinary effort of our Year 11 volunteers from Abbotsleigh and Knox. It is also made possible because of the trust and goodwill of the parents who place their precious children into our care.”
- Visit abbotsleigh.nsw.edu.au