Project Description

Camp 53

Casa Do Sol School | Kwalata Adventure Centre, Dinokeng Game Reserve
March 2016

An amazing group of campers from Casa Do Sol School in Linden Johannesburg enjoyed a week with Camp Footprints at the Kwalata Adventure Centre in the Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng  in March 2016.  43 campers and 8 educators enjoyed a week of sports, swimming and loads of fun and adventure. Casa Do Sol School provides a place of inclusive integration for learners with intellectual disabilities. Their role extends beyond just the immediate scholastic development of their current learners, as their work builds an awareness in the community at large, that different isn’t less.

Casa do Sol school caters for Learners with Special Educational needs between the ages of six and twenty-one. Although the primary disability is intellectual impairment, the cause and nature of the learners’ special needs and barriers to learning are wide-ranging and divers. The school curriculum has been designed to meet the individual needs and interests of each learner and to ensure their holistic development. The full and varied curriculum is based on a Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills Learning Programme, and this includes the teaching of Languages, Mathematics. Life Orientation, Arts & Culture, Natural & Social Sciences, Technology and Economic & Management Sciences. A strong emphasis is placed on the development of Life Skills, as it is imperative that each learner is equipped with the skills they need to be as independent as possible.  The co-curricula and extra-curricula activities that are offered at the school include music, woodwork, sewing & knitting, cooking & baking, gardening and pottery. Sporting activities include ice skating, swimming, soccer, water aerobics and adaptive sports.

Camp 54

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA – Western Cape | Oppiesee Camp, Melkbostrand
April 2015

Our annual CHOC Western Cape Camp takes place in March, the best time to visit the Cape and enjoy wonderful weather and great company as we sure did when we met our group of 43 campers on Monday 21 March. The campers were collected bright and early at the three hospitals where they receive treatment for their cancer related illnesses or blood disorders. Just Footprints extends sincere thanks to the staff at Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals for their assistance in rounding up the campers for camp. Without the support of these hospital teams this would indeed be a difficult task to undertake. Oppiesee in Melkbosstrand was our venue of choice with an amazing view of Table Mountain and the West Coast beaches right on our door step. A week of Olympic sports, beach activities, life skills, dance and ‘braai pie’ cooking challenges lay ahead for our campers and Camp Crew Members. Our campers received beautiful back packs from Soda Bloc and their goodie bags were kindly sponsored by the Foschini Group. Once again we could not have had such a successful camp without the team from Ukusa Safaris where Mike and Yvonne Hughes handled the catering as well as assisted with the programme facilitation. Our Camp Crew members were young adult rangers and guides as well as young adult cancer survivors who have previously attended our camps as campers. Just Footprints is thrilled about this exciting development of cancer survivors, who have overcome the same challenges as our campers, joining in as active Camp Crew members! They were amazing role models and an inspiration to all at camp.

Camp 55

Mount Olive Outreach | Kwalata Adventure Centre, Dinokeng Game Reserve
April 2016

Camp Footprints is delighted to welcome Khaya Centre Mount Olive Outreach and Orange Babies to our ‘beneficiary camp family’. The core activities of Mount Olive are centered on behavior change, care and support to the general public through community based HIV/AIDS programs in Lehae, south of Johannesburg, and surrounding informal settlements. Mount Olive’s main focus is to assist and develop Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Their program is a model which retains children, who have been orphaned and traumatized by the loss of parents, in their community of origin.  Networking with community based organizations, schools, clinics and churches is also an integral feature of the program.

This camp was a special incentive for the Mount Olive young leaders’ program. An exciting first in our ‘menu’ of camp activities was the introduction of a leadership boot camp program with a challenging obstacle course and fun, high energy team building exercises meant to stretch the campers and Mount Olive staff members out of their comfort zones. The ‘Reveille at Sunrise’ or more well known military bugle wakeup call each morning had the 60 campers up on their toes standing at attention, bungalows spick and span and ready for inspection. ‘Boot camp’ sessions included sandski, spider’s web, dodgeball, amazon crossing, totem pole and footloose activities. The highlight of the camp program was the mud pit with much amusement, high jinks and amazing team bonding. The ‘mess’ lunches and dinners were thoroughly enjoyed by a ravenous bunch of campers after all the strenuous exercises.

Camp Footprints would like to congratulate Valencia Kok, who heads up Mount Olive, and her staff  for their very enthusiastic participation in all the activities. We look forward to many more camps with Mount Olive Outreach.

Camp 56

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA  Sibling Camp | Johannesburg  Kwalata Adventure Centre in the Dinokeng  Game Reserve
May 2015

Our third sibling camp in liaison with the psychosocial team from CHOC Children’s Cancer Foundation SA was once again a very rewarding and worthy intervention in the lives of siblings whose brother or sister has been diagnosed with cancer or a cancer related illness. Often referred to as the “silent sufferers”, the camp gave these siblings the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns about their sick sibling in a safe, respectful and contained space amongst professional psychosocial staff and trained volunteers from CHOC.

23 excited campers attended the camp in the wilderness setting of Dinokeng Game Reserve. Here they were not only encouraged to enjoy their environment and meet the wildlife on the early morning game drives, but were given the space to be who they are and to just have lots of fun.

Comment by Alta Bence from CHOC “It is such a humbling experience to know we have made a difference in the lives of these siblings, which for many is a life changing event… The social workers have already had great positive feedback from the parents”.

Camp 57

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA – KZN | Kwa-Zulu Natal Mtunzini – Twinstreams Environmental Educational Centre
July 2016 

34 children living with cancer or life threatening blood disorders being treated at Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban and Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg enjoyed a 5 day camp with amazing experiences hosted by Just Footprints at Twinstreams Environmental Education Centre.  The campers had a great time paddling on the estuary, exploring mangrove swamps with much fun in the mud, beach walks and games and hiking in the forest. One of the highlights of the camp programme was a visit to the Unizulu Science Centre in Richards Bay. The children were fascinated by the variety of and thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on exhibits which are composed of dynamic demonstrations, fascinating curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment. All the shows are structured to be both educational and entertaining ‘edutainment’ and have such interesting names as “Amazing Aluminium Show”, “Fire and Ice”, “Crazy Chemistry”, “Good Vibrations” and “Light Fantastic”.

In a very exciting development for Just Footprints at the KZN camps, young adult cancer survivors volunteered for this camp and were a wonderful inspiration to the campers currently battling with their serious illnesses. The education officers and staff at Twinstreams and our JFF facilitators Sisa, Ayanda and Vusi all collaborated to make the camp a fun, exciting and safe space where the campers could chill out from their hospital visits and treatments, enjoy ‘normal’ activities and just be kids again!

Camp 58

Sizanani Outreach Project | Kwa-Zulu Natal Mtunzini – Twinstreams Environmental Education Centre
July 2016

What better way to spend the winter than with our friends from Sizanani Outreach Centre, a community based organisation in Nkandla assisting children with HIV/Aids and orphans and vulnerable children. 60 campers joined us for 5 days of adventure with Steve and the amazing educational officers from Twinstreams,  Sizanani staff and our own JFF facilitators, Sisa, Ayanda and Vusi. The daily programme was packed to capacity with many stimulating environmental educational activities that were geared towards appreciating our natural environment by exploring the coastal dunes, navigating through the mangroves, learning that mud is good for you, kayaking and crab hunting. Beach games, dance, drama, song and creative bead making also formed part of the programme.  One of the most important aspects of this camp was to teach the children the importance of adherence to a medication regime, since many need to take anti-retroviral medication, or are caring for siblings who need to do so.  This intervention was promoted daily through fun activities to foster adherence, acceptance of their condition and to develop a positive attitude around taking their medication. Sincere thanks to Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini Haas from Sizanani, for her dedication and passion for these children and their well being. Eric and Debra Bianchi from the USA, devoted Sizanani supporters and keen photographers joined us to see first hand the kids enjoying being away from their daily ‘adult’ responsibilities of caring for their siblings, fetching water and carrying wood. We would also like thank the local Mtunzini businesses for supporting our camp initiative.

Camp 59

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA | Gauteng CHOC Johannesburg – Kwalata Adventure Centre –  Dinokeng Game Reserve October 2016

39 Children living with cancer or life threatening blood disorders being treated at The Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospitals in Gauteng joined us for the start of our summer camps in Gauteng in the October school holidays for 4 nights and 5 days.  We decided to bring the beach to the bush and why not.  We set up tents on the volley ball court and transformed the court into a beach.  How exciting it was for our campers to each spend a night sleeping in the tents under a canopy of stars.  The laughter and giggles where heard every night maybe a few nervous giggles to.

Many of our campers due to their illness have never slept out in a tent or in a sleeping bag and they loved the thrill of it.

Our camp crew members also enjoyed a night of good rest.  Due to the ages of the campers our programme was planned to incorporate everything we can do at the beach if we young or a little older. Beach and fishing games, creating our own Island getaways and of course we had to swim so instead of salt water we had bubble bath and fun slides for all our campers to enjoy.  Most afternoons of swimming are always the highlight for the children and some free time to just play and feel safe and to forget about their illness.

Camp 60

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA | Gauteng CHOC Pretoria – Kwalata Adventure Centre –  Dinokeng Game Reserve October 2016

34 Children living with cancer or life threatening blood disorders being treated at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria joined us during their October school holidays.  We decided this year to split the two CHOC Gauteng camps as the number of campers were increasing and we felt that by splitting these two camps our campers will feel more at ease in a smaller group and have far better impact.  This camp was very similar to our camp 59 as our beach in the bush theme continued.

On a personal note there is a very special lady her name is Judy Schoeman she plays a huge part in these children’s lives she is the dietician at Steve Biko Hospital and ensures the children follow her dietary requirements.  She has a genuine love and passion for these amazing children.

Judy joins us at camp and enjoys seeing the children out of the hospital environment and at times she is over whelmed at their progress and that they have no fair to try new activities.  We thank Judy for all that she does to ensure the well-being of our campers and her patients.

Camp 61

Casa Do Sol School – Gauteng | Kwalata Adventure Centre – Dinokeng Game Reserve September 2016

40 children from Casa Do Sol School from Linden in Johannesburg joined us at camp in September.  These wonderful children and young adults all have special needs and this has been their second camp with Camp Footprints this year. However their excitement and the build up to come back is always a daily topic at school and they were ready for a big task that lay ahead for them at the camp.

 Even though our children face challenges on a daily basis due to their health, life circumstances and special needs we also feel it is important for them to understand that there are people out in the community that they can help. In Hammanskraal there is an old age home called TLC and through our funders and Camp Footprints campers we are able to give them something back. Our campers planted trees and shrubs at TLC and this is to provide much needed shade and to ensure that the folks have a pretty garden while sitting outside. Our campers made bracelets for the ladies and key ring holders for the gentlemen. They also spent some time talking to the folks and also sang to them.

Camp 62

The Gateway School – Gauteng | Kwalata Adventure Centre – Dinokeng Game Reserve October 2016 

50 Campers joined us in October from The Gateway School for 3 nights and for 4 days filled with activities which included intentional sports play, taking on the challenge of the mud pit and spider obstacle course. Also included in the activities water slides balloons and a great sponge throwing wall and swimming pool adventures always a highlight for all our campers young and old.

Dance is such an important component for the campers from The Gateway School and every morning they love their wake up and shake up session with Vusi from Camp Footprints. This camp we also included an interaction opportunity for the children to meet Popeye she is Burmese python and resides at Kwalata Adventure Centre she is a permanent resident and she is there to assist and educate people on snakes and their behaviour. She is the highlight of many campers and constantly they ask to see Popeye. Our campers had an opportunity to touch her on her belly and feel the difference in texture as well as overcome some of their fears.

Camp 63

Sparrow School and Ikageng – Gauteng | Kwalata Adventure Centre – Dinokeng Game Reserve November 2016

Camp Footprints invited children from The Sparrow School in Melville and children from Ikageng based in Soweto to join us for 4 nights and 5 days of camp in November and these children were from Grade 1 to Grade 3 in total we had 46 little friends join us. This camp was part of our leadership team training, staff training as Camp Footprints is officially a Global Partner Programme of the Late Paul Newman’s Association known as Seriousfun Children’s Network .  

Our leadership team went on training from the 5th to the 9th November. We then welcomed our volunteer group from the 10th to the 13th  November and through everything we had been taught and put all our hard work into making our campers love camp from the 14th to the 18th November. We are busy learning all the time and through the Seriousfun Children’s Network we will continue to grow as an organisation.