The Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) program brings light-hearted relief to some of our sickest young people.
One of the programs offered by ChIPS is a camp, giving young people with a chronic illness the opportunity to get together for three days of fun, sun and achievement. These camps, entirely funded through philanthropy, enable ChIPPERs (as they’re affectionately called) to share experiences, learn from each other and engage in activities that can be difficult for them to attempt in everyday life.
ChIPPER Brooke Hall remembers being both excited and nervous before her first camp. “I knew I was excited, and even though I was scared, I knew it was going to be a wonderful time,” said Brooke.
Day one was action-packed with fun and games once ChIPPERs got to know each other. “After dinner we went out to the field to play a traditional ChIPS camp activity, tee ball. It was so awesome to see everyone get involved and have a good laugh. I even had a go and I don’t run very far, but I ran the whole way and all the ChIPPERs were encouraging about it!”
Day two was an adventure, with canoeing, climbing, performing and even a flying fox.
Brooke remembers, “By this point I had met so many new people, overcome my fears, and was ready to take on whatever camp threw at me next.”
Despite a trip to Emergency, Brooke was determined to return to camp to say farewell to her fellow ChIPPERs. “I made it back for the end of camp and everyone was encouraging and so happy to see me, which made me feel welcomed and like I never left.”
ChIPs camps are only possible thanks to the support of generous Victorians like ChIPs ambassador Karl Kutner.
Karl is leading the charge to support ChIPS camps through the Giving Circle — Impact 5000 initiative. Bringing together charitable people and organisations, the Giving Circle asks supporters to pledge $5,000 per year for three years so every ChIPPER can participate in these life-changing camps.
“By pooling our donations, we’re able to make these camps possible and give ChIPPERs a place to enjoy amazing experiences.”
The Giving Circle is a wonderful way to help young people who don’t have the same opportunities as the rest of us,” says Karl.