Camp 89

Surgeons for little lives | Kwalata Adventure Camp Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng

March 2019

Children from the paediatric surgical unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto joined us again for a weekend of fun and exploration. This is the second year that we have hosted a camp with Surgeons for little lives. It is so gratifying to see children who have experienced the pain and trauma of major surgery joining in all the fun camp activities, enjoying being away from the hospital and putting those painful memories of their surgery behind them. Also experiencing the fun of camp were the Bara Hospital staff and volunteers from the paediatric surgical unit who enthusiastically participated in all the programme activities and were quite amazed how differently their young patients reacted away from the hospital environment and their doctors and nurses. The staff commented on the happy smiles and loved observing their young patients being just kids again.

A note from Noluthando Shabi  a member of the Surgeons for little lives team: “A special thanks to the Just Footprints Foundation and Lize Van Vuuren (Camp Director) for working with us in organising this camp for our sick patients. We are really grateful for all you have done for our patients and we wish you all the best as you grow!!! Please check them out on their Facebook page or website they are really doing an amazing job! “

Our Camp Footprints model is based on intentional learning and play through fun activities, and the daily camp programme was as always filled with games, sport, drumming and water activities. Camp Teamwork is an essential element at camp where the campers are divided into body check groups for the duration of the camp and learn to respect and depend on one another and to work together as a team. Each camper receives a group camp photograph, a Camp Footprints ‘Attendance at Camp Certificate’ and a ‘Super Camper’ award to take home.

Based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital  in Soweto, Surgeons for little lives is run by a small group of Paediatric Surgeons, and ordinary people, who are passionate about uplifting the lives of less fortunate South African children, in need of life changing surgery and with a powerful commitment to saving the lives of sick children. This dedicated group’s mission is to raise the level of care given to young patients served by the Department of Paediatric Surgery in Greater Gauteng and its surrounding provinces to world class standards.

Camp 90

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA – Western Cape | Rondebosch
April 2019

The fairest Cape was the setting for yet another milestone by Camp Footprints when we held our 90th camp there for children with cancer related illnesses and life threatening blood disorders.

Based in Rondebosch, the campers were given the opportunity of exploring the many sightseeing opportunities the Cape has to offer.

Days jam packed with activities made for an amazing experience for children. One of the highlights of camp was canoeing in Muizenburg with the NSRI doing a talk on safety in water ways, in the ocean, lakes and rivers. The campers just loved being able to paddle around with the NSRI keeping a watchful eye on them.  Being close to Easter, the campers also had a great time searching for chocolate eggs in the Easter Egg Hunt.

The CHOC volunteers, Camp Footprints young adult camp crew and hospital staff enthusiastically joined in all the activities. Our grateful thanks to you all for making this camp so special for the children. Thank you again Sister Vereteen and Sister Siena for your friendly and professional medial support of the campers and all at camp.

Children receiving treatment at the Tygerberg, Red Cross Children’s and Groote Schuur Hospitals were invited to come to camp in collaboration with the Western Cape branch of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA. Just Footprints extends sincere thanks to the staff and volunteers from CHOC for their enthusiastic support of our camp initiative and also to the staff at the Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals for their assistance in rounding up the campers for camp. Without the support of the CHOC Western Cape Team and the hospital teams this camp experience would indeed be a difficult task to undertake.

Camp 91

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

March 2019

Our special friends from Casa Do Sol School again enjoyed camp time with Camp Footprints at Kwalata Adventure Centre in the Dinokeng Game Reserve. Campers and educators thoroughly enjoyed the sports, swimming, dancing and loads of fun and adventure. The slippy slides, especially the tall gladiator slide, were a challenge that the campers bravely, although fearfully, tackled and just loved zooming down the slide into the pool of bubbles below. The early morning game drives are always eagerly looked forward to and seeing the incredulous looks on their faces when they spot an ‘ellie’ or a giraffe is a joy to behold.

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. The 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 diverse. The school curriculum has been designed to meet the individual needs and interests of each learner and to ensure their holistic development. 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 92

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA Sibling Camp | Johannesburg

May 2019

Our seventh sibling camp in liaison with the psychosocial team from CHOC Childhood 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 a cancer related illness or life threatening blood disorder. Often referred to as the “silent sufferers”, the camp offers these siblings who are often neglected, a respite from the responsibilities of having a sibling with a serious illness. Being away from their families, gives siblings the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns about their sibling in a safe and respectful space with the insightful and professional support of the psychosocial staff and trained volunteers from CHOC.

The camp was held  Dinokeng Game Reserve and the campers, whose siblings are being treated at Chris Hani Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke Hospitals in Johannesburg and Steve Biko Academic and George Makari Hospitals in Pretoria 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 in between the serious psychosocial interventions of the CHOC Team. Our own Camp Footprints camp crew were at camp to support the siblings during the recreational and fun camp activities.

It was absolutely amazing to see the transformation in the children. They learned that they are not alone and that they can have fun without feeling guilty about their sick brother or sister. These experiences empowered the campers and it has ‘transformed’ children who left the camp. The parents commented on the change in their children and said the siblings could not stop talking about the camp and asked when was camp happening again!

The CHOC social workers have had great positive feedback from the parents after the previous sibling camps and Just Footprints is thrilled that our camps have made such a difference in the lives of these siblings.

Camp 93

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

July 2019

What better way to escape the cold Gauteng winter than joining our young friends from Sizanani Outreach Centre at Mtunzini on the KZN North Coast. Sizanani is a community based organisation in Nkandla assisting children with HIV/Aids and orphans and vulnerable children. The campers and Sizanani staff joined us for 5 days of adventure with the knowledgeable educational officers from Twinstreams and our own JFF camp crew.

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 white and black mangroves, kayaking and crab hunting. Beach games, dance, drama, song and drumming were also included in the  programme.

One of the most important aspects of this camp was to teach the children the importance of adherence to their 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.