Work. Finances. Chores. School routines. With the pressures of daily life it’s little wonder so many Kiwi families struggle to spend quality time together, and the numbers prove it.
In 2015 a Statistics New Zealand report revealed one third of New Zealanders feel they are not spending enough time with their partners and children. The same study also found families with children are less likely than childless couples to share meals together.
YMCA’s Family Camp seeks to address some of those issues. For four years YMCA has been sending up to 40 deserving families a year to Family Camp for a weekend of fully-subsidised cabin-based camping at the iconic YMCA Camp Adair facility in the Hunua Ranges.
This time-out provides a valuable opportunity for families to get away from the pressures of daily life, step back from everyday distractions and spend quality time together with the people who matter most: whānau. And with no TV or internet, but a large communal dining hall and all catering provided, there’s no escaping those meal times together.
For the Van Dalen’s of West Auckland, the October 2017 Family Camp was an opportunity to participate as a family in some of their favourite outdoor activities such as abseiling and archery. Mum Pauline says the financial pressure of increased rent in Auckland meant they've had less chances lately to get away and connect as a family.
“We used to do stuff together, like camp at Kai Iwi lakes, but then we hardly did anything together.
“The kids love doing outdoor activities and Family Camp was a great way for us to experience that together.”
Joining the Van Dalen’s at the October Family Camp were five other families from all walks of life: working families under pressure to stay ahead of the bills and worn down by the grind of the working week; single parents unable to afford similar opportunities or take the time off work; families with foster children looking for opportunities to better connect as a family unit.
For the three generations of the Samu family that attended – 12 in all including grandparents, daughters and grandchildren – Family Camp was a chance to get together and make the most of what they have.
Daughter Shirley said the whole family, young and old, loved Family Camp and were grateful for the opportunity to spend a quality weekend together.
“Our parents are getting older, and we’re just trying to make family memories.”
You too can help deserving families attend Family Camp. Visit our Everyday Hero page and donate today> everydayhero.co.nz/event/ymca-auckland-hamilton.
YMCA is a not-for-profit organisation. The October 2017 YMCA Family Camp was made possible via a generous grant from the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate, and donations from the public and YMCA members.