Happy campers in a foundation first

Teens at the first Type 1 Diabetes Youth Camp. (Louisa Jones) 234198_02

By Luke Voogt

About 30 teens from across Australia enjoyed mazes, laser skirmish and other activities in Geelong and across the bay in the first-ever Type 1 Foundation Diabetes Youth Camp this week.

The teens took a trip on the Queenscliff-Sorrento ferry on Tuesday to visit the Enchanted Adventure Garden theme park on the Mornington Peninsula, enjoying ‘tree-surfing’, tube slides and more.

They stayed the rest of the week at Camp Koala, Queenscliff, and travelled across Geelong for activities including Next Level Skirmish laser tag in North Geelong.

“The main goal of this camp is to bring youth from all over Australia to create friendships and peer support networks,” Type 1 Foundation chief executive officer Ange Liston-McCaughley said.

“We know that teenagers with Type 1 [diabetes] are at a higher risk of mental illness, self-harm and suicide.

“We wanted to do something about changing this by bringing youth from regional areas around Australia together to support each other.

“The main focus of this camp will be supporting the mental health aspect of living with a chronic incurable illness.

“We have mentors at the camp in their 20s, who will talk about their journey with Type 1, the mental health challenge and the challenges in a working environment and socially.”

Some of the teens hail from as far as the Northern Territory and far-north Queensland, according to Ms Liston-McCaughley.

“We want the youth to come away knowing they have friends in Australia going through a similar journey, and just maybe there will be some lifelong friendships formed.”

Ms Liston-McCaughley thanked partner organisation Lions Youth Exchange for its support of the camp.

For help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.