Camp creates connections

Monday, 16 August 2021

Over 30km of trekking and mountain bike riding through rugged, snake and leech-infested terrain. Sleeping on wafer-thin mats under makeshift tarps barely protecting them from the relentless rain. The cold, hard ground felt like a waterbed as they slept soundly, exhausted from days of carrying heavy packs and trudging through the bush.

That was what greeted 11 veterans who signed up for the inaugural three-night Veterans Camp, an initiative of The Oasis Townsville. And when asked if they would do it all again – the response from all was a resounding yes!

The Oasis Wellbeing Program Manager, Colleen Wing, who was with the group every step of the way, said the daily hardships helped develop strong and meaningful bonds that would help build resilience for the challenges that would most certainly face them in their transition journey whether that be in ADF or in Civvy street

“This camp was an amazing experience for all 11 participants who were either currently serving ADF members, veterans or family of veterans,” Ms Wing said.

“While it was extremely physical with long hikes through dense bush carrying packs that were over 20 kilograms, rough sleeping and high rope teamwork courses, it was also emotionally challenging for us all.

“At the end of each day, exhausted, we sat around the campfire and told funny stories of what happened that day. We talked about everything. Our families, our time in the ADF and our struggles and triumphs during our transitions from the Defence force.

“It was the emotional and physical toll that we went through each day that helped us all drop our guards, open up and talk about things that we wouldn’t usually discuss. These discussions helped us build an amazing bond as a group, forged strong connections between individuals and helped us work as a team to concur with each challenge we faced.

“While it was a difficult week, our group wouldn’t change a thing about it. Of course, it was nice to finally sleep in our own beds once it was all over, but what we did during that week was something special and something we will remember for a very long time.

“The camp has ticked all the boxes for what we set out to achieve. It has built resilience, forged connections, developed teamwork and importantly, given confidence to all who participated that they can achieve anything.

We have lessons to take away and use in the development of our next camp. We would like to see it cater to different levels of fitness, endurance and emotional readiness to broaden the camp opportunity for veterans.

For more information visit https://www.theoasistownsville.org.au/veterans-adventure-camp

ENDS…

Media contact: Michael Baker; 0417 900 545