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Linda’s experience – The Western Australian camp for people who are deafblind

Linda attended the 2014 Western Australian camp for people who are deafblind and shares her experiences.

“From, Friday, 14 November 2014 to Sunday, 16 November 2014 the Western Australian camp for people who are deafblind was held at Ern Halliday recreation centre. I was very reluctant to go at first as it was way out of my comfort zone, but Karen Wickham who is a Deafblind Consultant at Senses Australia encouraged  me to go.
“I loved it. It was really fantastic.

“I got picked up from home Friday afternoon by Aimee who also works at Senses Australia.  A bus full of people arrived shortly afterwards with most of the campers, some of whom had come from the eastern states for this very special weekend.

“I got taken to my dorm where I chose my bed and put my bag and sleeping bag down. Emma my volunteer found me and the fun began.

“We had afternoon tea and a meet and greet session where we picked a balloon with a persons name on it and had to go and find that person and chat with them for a little while.

“Shortly afterwards we had dinner where i met some more people. We had a practice session for the barn dance which was  going to be held on the Saturday night.

“After the practice finished,  we went back to our dorms to sleep. I was very proud of myself as i found the bathroom all by myself and my way back to my bed without help.

“On Saturday morning after breakfast I met my second volunteer, her name was Erin and she was terrific. I did caving as my first activity and boy was that challenging but amazing. We had to climb walls, go through tunnels and down a slide that had a rope within the slide.

“I really enjoyed it. Then after morning tea I went on the flying fox twice and that was really great.

“We then had lunch and afterwards we went by bus to kings park. I had Karin as my volunteer and we went on a walk  on the tree top bridge which was really beautiful. Lots of big trees, lakes and waterfalls. It was a good walk.  Then we went to the Conti Winery which i loved. I could have stayed there for another hour easily. I bought a bottle of red wine to take home.

“After dinner on Saturday night people arrived in their wonderful costumes and the  dancing began. There was lots to remember but I had  Emma again as my volunteer and she did a marvellous job of teaching me all the steps.

“I was worried about the barn dancing as I thought it would be really noisy but it was great.

“On Sunday morning after breakfast I had Kirsty as my volunteer who I had met previously.  We went to the Hillarys Boat Harbour and although the ice cream place I wanted to go to was closed we found a nice ice cream place, bought some postcards and came back to the camp.

“After lunch we all packed up and people started loading their luggage on to the bus and went back to Senses Australia.

“I met some amazing people  who i will  never forget. They really inspired me and made me realise I shouldn’t   be complaining about much at all.

“I felt like i really belonged, fitted in. Noone made me feel like i was any worse than anyone else and i did’t have to live in fear that i was doing  something wrong. I could be myself. It gave me the opportunity to reach out to others and not just think of myself.

“It also made me realize that we can do more or less anything we want to as long as we have the willingness to do so and the right support system in place.

“So thank you Karen for encouraging me to go and now I want to go to the one in Melbourne.”

Photographs taken at the 2014 Western Australian camp for people who are deafblind