Who will be responsible for looking after my child?

At the Mackay Sony Camp, there will be a large number of volunteers responsible for the care of campers, including nurses and medical staff, teachers and parents from Whitsunday Anglican School and most importantly, the Year 11 Companions. These Year 11 Companions provide responsible care for a camper during the three days of the camp. In some instances, the companions will be Year 12 students.

Provision of responsible care will require two Year 11 Companions to accompany and supervise their camper throughout the daily activities and to sleep beside him/her at night.

A Year 11 Companion’s daily responsibilities, dependent on the individual needs of each camper, may include the following:

  • Emotional support
  • Feeding
  • Ensuring specific dietary requirements are met
  • Dressing
  • Showering/Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Assisting nursing staff in the delivery and compliance of medications Recreational activities
  • Mobility
What qualifications do Year 11 Companions have?

Whilst the students are enthusiastic, compassionate and will receive training they don’t have any formal qualifications. However, we have a range of experienced staff at the camp each day to support the companions. There is staff who have experience working with children with disabilities, nurses and teaching staff from Whitsunday Anglican School. A majority of our volunteers have a current First Aid and CPR certificates.

What training do Year 11 Companions receive?

Year 11 Companions receive at least three days of training provided by experienced staff who work with people with disabilities. They learn about a range of disabilities, how to communicate with children with disabilities and how to manage difficult behaviours. They cannot learn everything there is to know but they do get a good overview of the issues and they also learn that they should ask if they are ever unsure – there is always someone around who they can ask for help. This training is completed with the assistance of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at CQUniversity and other local disability-focused organisations.

Assistant Companions

Assistant Companions will assist the Year 11 Companions in providing responsible care for a camper during the four days of the camp. They will also provide valuable breaks for the Year 11 Companions by assuming the role of a temporary carer for a camper. They will provide both emotional and physical support for the Year 11 Companions by way of temporarily relieving them.

What are the roles of Staff?

The purpose of the School Staff at the Mackay Sony Camp is to make sure that everything runs to plan and to provide support, guidance, and assistance to the Companions and Assistant Companions. They are also there to make sure that all the peripheral volunteers are organised and know what to do.

Some of the duties that staff are responsible for include:

  • Providing both emotional and physical support for the Year 11 Companions or Assistant Companions by way of guidance and advice,
  • Confirming transport and venues for activities,
  • Assisting the caterers in setting up the dining areas at meal times and also assisting in cleaning up in the kitchen,
  • Sleeping at the camp and being prepared to be awake at night to assist the night nurse or companions with any disturbance or emergency.


What are the roles of Parent Volunteers?

Parent Volunteers assist the staff and volunteers at camp by helping to keep rooms clean by making beds in the mornings and organising the washing of campers’ clothes. They also assist the caterers to set up and clean up and assist in settling the campers at night.

My child has complex needs/medical problems, can they still attend camp?

Yes – we will have nurses at camp 24 hours per day. Our nurses will speak with you before your child comes to camp and make sure that they understand what your child needs. If necessary, our nursing staff can also speak to your GP. There are a number of medical forms that we will ask families to fill in (including some by your GP).

What happens if my child gets sick during the camp?

If your child gets sick, we will call you to discuss. For some children, this might mean that they do need to go home but we will speak to you and negotiate this with you. Our nurses are there 24 hours per day and will discuss any concerns with you and then work out what to do next.

Can I phone and speak to my child during the camp?

Yes, you can phone one of the staff and speak to your child. Sometimes you might just want to speak with a staff member or a companion and find out how your child is doing – that is also fine. We are there to make sure that your child has a good time and that you have a good rest.

What sort of activities do you take the children to?

We will arrange many activities throughout the three days. These activities include swimming, art and craft, a bouncy castle, dressing up, singing and sport. These outings are carefully planned to make sure that all the children can participate and have fun.

My child has specific dietary needs, can you cater for these at camp?

Our catering staff will cater for specific dietary needs. The needs of your child will be discussed by tour Parent Liaison, who will call you prior to the camp and then will arrange with the catering staff to make your child’s required meals.

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