An unforgettable first camp adventure

Person looks over river at sunset in Nagambie

Pictured: Darcy enjoying the view from the houseboat.

Camps offer a perfect opportunity to explore and create unforgettable moments. Gateways’ most recent camp was in picturesque Nagambie on the Goulburn Valley, where Darcy experienced more than just a regular getaway. It was his first-ever camp with Gateways, an important moment for him and his dad, Jonathan.

Since the age of 10, Darcy exhibited a unique talent for escaping and running away. Jonathan recalled, “Darcy has done some terribly frightening runs, usually to the water, over the years, involving police to locate him and safely secure him.”

As a result, Darcy was restricted from joining camps during his school years, limiting his opportunities for outings and adventures. “It just wasn’t possible with his history,” Jonathan explained, “in many ways, our life together was quite locked down.”

Now 19 years old, Darcy longed for more outings and often reminisced about his early school camps, sharing his excitement with his dad.

Over the past few years, Darcy has diligently improved his ability to follow instructions and taken swimming lessons.

“In my heart I felt he was ready,” Jonathan said.

In 2023, Jonathan reached out to Gateways to explore possibilities for enhancing Darcy’s participation in outings and camps.

The Gateways camps team actively engaged with Darcy during his swimming lessons and other hands-on activities, creating a custom plan for his first camp. This plan included partial participation for one night, focusing on activities most beneficial for Darcy.

“We took a leap together.”

Two Gateways participants and two support workers smiling at the camera
Pictured: Darcy with support workers Shiva and Connor and participant Tomas.
Participants and support workers play on water playground
Pictured: Camp participants having the best time at Wacky Splash & Play Nagambie.

“Darcy behaved perfectly and never once misbehaved, became agitated or attempted any kind of escape. He slept soundly, handled the toileting in a strange location, adopted the cabin as his home base, amazing! Rarely happens away from home.”

The Gateways camps team, in close communication with Jonathan, ensured they were thoroughly prepared. “By the time we were ready, in a way, it was on train tracks for a dream success. I think the support workers had as much fun with Darcy as he had with them, perfect!”

Gateways participant pretending to steer a boat
Pictured: Darcy had the opportunity to steer the boat.

Gateways is dedicated to ensuring every participant enjoys the best possible experience. Our committed support workers go above and beyond, providing encouragement and new experiences. They actively engage with participants, carers and families, making sure everyone feels secure and comfortable in their environment.

“I am in debt to the Gateways camps people for taking it on, they didn’t need to, and on paper, Darcy presented some risks. It was a lot of work for everyone to get ready.”

A Gateways participant and two support workers smiling at the camera
Pictured: Darcy with support workers Shiva and Connor.

The Gateways camps team and Jonathan are already discussing Darcy’s next camp, aiming to make it an even better experience than the first.

“This is literally a new chapter of experiences for my son. Can’t be understated.”

To view upcoming camps, click here.