An update from Camp Quality’s CEO and Chairman

All of us at Camp Quality hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well in these uncertain times.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the necessary guidelines to curtail the spread of this virus, may be disrupting our lives and work practices, but we also know that this new way of being is having a serious effect on our kids and families facing cancer. A number of our families have been dealing with isolation for many months, even years, and although many already have strong coping strategies, this current situation brings new challenges for them to navigate and manage.

What are we doing for families?

Until it’s safe to be together again, we will continue to work hard to digitally deliver some of our services and programs at home and in hospital where our families, now experiencing a ‘next level’ of isolation, need us more than ever.

To do this, we have created Camp Quality’s Happiness Hub - a digital dose of positivity and online home to the Camp Quality Puppets and Virtual Camps. A place for ‘happy campers,’ full of activities, resources and inspiring stories from the Camp Quality Family and beyond, the Happiness Hub connects our families and the broader community to help us get through this together. While this ‘officially’ launches tomorrow evening, we invite you as a valued member of our Camp Quality Family, to see it first here.

The Camp Quality Puppets are also sharing fun videos and performing live for kids on Camp Quality Facebook every Thursday at 6pm. In hospital, our Child Life Therapists continue to be there for our kids in Melbourne and Newcastle. Meanwhile Camp Quality’s Kids Guide to Cancer app and New Normal Navigator app will keep providing cancer resources for kids and supporting families returning home from hospital during this difficult time.

So, keep watching Camp Quality social media channels (as well as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, we have also joined TikTok) for snippets from Camp Quality’s Happiness Hub. We’d also love you to get involved in the Camp Quality social media challenge #positivitypandemic (Simply share a joke, wellbeing tip or something that puts a smile on your face during isolation… post it on social and be sure to hashtag it #positivitypandemic and tag Camp Quality).

We would also like to add that if anyone in the Camp Quality Family is struggling, and don’t have the support they need during this time, we are here to help you navigate the options and help you find the support you need. Please don’t hesitate to reach out by email to contactus@campquality.org.au or your local Family Programs Co-ordinator.

What are we doing as an organisation?

At Camp Quality, one thing we know for sure is that as an organisation we have been through many tough times in our 36-year history and not only have we survived but we have continued to learn and grow. We have used the experience to learn more about our purpose and how best to evolve and adapt, to embrace change and work effectively in very different circumstances. 

We are respecting our government’s protocols and policies around social distancing and self-isolation as required and are following their guidelines as they develop. We count ourselves lucky to be in a country with a world class health system and healthcare workers who genuinely care about our welfare and wellbeing. We thank all the people, within the government and on the front line, who are doing their best to sustain us physically, mentally, emotionally and economically, during this challenging period.

And shining like a beacon through this uncertainty, are you, our wonderful supporters: our families, volunteers, donors, corporate partners and suppliers. I know we speak on behalf of all our staff when we say, that it is your generosity, support and kindness that keeps us going. We know the demand for our Camps, Family Fun Days, Retreats, Primary School Education Program and events, will be greater than ever as we come out the other side of this. And we intend to be there for you, our Camp Quality Family, even more positive and determined, than before this crisis.

We also know that many in the Camp Quality Family, have faced, or are currently facing, cancer head on, and thanks to our supportive community, have a resilience and optimism toolbox of coping strategies that will help them through this difficult time. We can all learn from this.

Our goal right now is to promote our positivity, to get through this together with a good dose of Camp Quality resilience and optimism, whilst at all times observing the best health and safety standards and protocols. We are also working on new ways to share our wisdom and fun with a wider community, who are now adapting to isolation and the fear and stresses of a life-threatening illness – a situation we know many of our families have faced every day for long periods in hospital and at home.

In response to the escalating isolation requirements from the Federal Government, our services, programs and events, scheduled for the first half of the year through to the end of August 2020, have regrettably been cancelled or postponed to later in the year (subject to health department protocols and guidelines) and in some cases, moved to 2021. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you post 31st July 2020.

In a time when we are not able to run our face-to-face services, Camps, Family Fun Days and events, we are preparing for an increased demand when we can be together again. The funds raised through our recent Extraordinary Ask Matched Giving Day have brought us a step closer to ensuring this. Our deep and heartfelt gratitude to everyone who was able to donate last month. Camp Quality still needs support more than ever to assist the development of our online programs. We know many of you might not be able to give because of your personal circumstances, but if you can donate, no matter how much, we would really appreciate it. 

Meanwhile, the Camp Quality Leadership Team, Board and staff have been working together to ensure we can continue to function as an organisation whilst working under very different conditions. While our Board very generously volunteer their time and support, they are working closely with the Executive Team, utilising their skills, expertise and networks to assist management in navigating these extraordinary times.

Financially, we are currently making difficult, but necessary, decisions to ensure sustainability for the organisation in the long term. Our first line of defence is reducing fixed costs and ceasing all non-essential corporate services. Our Executive Team have taken a voluntary pay cut and some staff have taken leave and reduced hours where possible. We thank all of our staff for their support and co-operation with this cost saving initiative as we tackle these challenging circumstances together, as a united and dedicated team.

All staff across the country are now working hard from home; continuing to raise revenue, support families and, like everyone else in isolation, finally getting around to all those critical projects that needed doing but you never had time for!

When all of us at Camp Quality look back on the COVID-19 period, we expect to see an organisation that adapted, evolved and never stopped being there for kids and their families facing cancer. An organisation that showed compassion and  a cool head during a time of crisis.

We hope future generations will see this time as one when societies put their heads and their hearts together to find better ways to look after each other, stay connected, grow and learn, and that is certainly what we are working towards, every day. We look forward to doing this together with you, our Camp Quality Family, and becoming more resilient and positive as we continue along our shared path.

Thank you for your friendship and support, we couldn’t do this without you.

Best wishes,

Deborah Thomas
Camp Quality CEO

and 

Kim Jacobs
Camp Quality Chairman