On Tuesday 26 September 2017, seven participants of Northside’s Young Carers Program, three staff members and one student volunteer embarked on a day trip to the Royal National Park. They spent the day taking part in outdoor activities with other young carers and their supervisors from other regions of Sydney. The activities were facilitated by staff from Australian Outdoor Education.

Northside’s participants met at the lobby of its office building at 10 Help Street in Chatswood at around 8am and boarded the bus at around 8.30am. The journey to the Royal National Park took about an hour. Upon arrival at the Royal National Park, Northside’s participants were greeted by staff from Australian Outdoor Education. After the other participants arrived, morning tea of homemade cookies and fresh fruits was served.

After morning tea, the day’s activities were outlined and safety rules laid down. The entire group then participated in an ice breaker activity to get to know each others names. Afterwards, the participants were divided into two smaller groups who would take turns carrying out the day’s planned activities. As it was a hot and sunny day, participants were encouraged to apply sunscreen and carry with them a supply of drinking water.

One group would then take a guided bush walk through the slightly rocky terrain and through some lush foliage to arrive at a small waterfall where the participants could relax for a short while and splash around in the cool body of water. Another group would trek down the side of a rock face to the beach where they would form two teams and compete against each other in a relay race. After the activities, everyone headed back to the campsite for a delicious sausage sizzle lunch.
Once lunch was over, the group that went for the bush walk went down to the beach and the group that went to the beach embarked on the bush walk. Once they were done with these activities, both groups met back at the campsite for afternoon tea of more homemade cookies and fresh fruits. After morning tea, the participants could choose either to head back down to the beach for a swim or to stay at the campsite to relax.

Soon it was time to pack up and leave. But not before the participants had the opportunity to exchange contact details including social media account details and a large group photo was taken. Everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. It was good to see these young teenagers spending time with nature away from their computers and electronic gadgets. Many of the participants who had been shy and reserved at the beginning of the day were now chatting away furiously to their newfound friends. The objective of the day, which was the enable the young carers to have some respite from their caring roles and to bond with their peers was met.

The participants from Northside bid farewell to their friends and boarded the bus back to Chatswood where the young carers were met by their parents to whom they would most probably regale with tales of their adventures of the day.

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