2021 Asia-Pacific Youth Camp
In September 2021, 29 attendees came together at a premier sporting facility on the Gold Coast for the 2021 Order of Malta Asia Pacific Youth Camp.
The camp, initially scheduled for 2020 was postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and unfortunately was scaled back due to last minute COVID restrictions due to outbreak in Australia that prohibited, not only international attendees, but interstate guests from NSW, VIC and SA.
Despite the reduced attendance, the camp programme provided challenges, games and unique experiences for the participants who, as a result, have formed lifelong friendships. For many of the guests it was their first time away from families, and despite some initial home sickness, the freedom, excitement and joy experienced by them at the camp was overwhelming.
The camp also provided some much needed respite for the guests' families who care for them and also proved to be lifechanging for the volunteers who attended – with one volunteer now changing the future career path to that of disability care. Furthermore four volunteers and one carer have subsequently taken up active work for the Order of Malta Homeless outreach project with Emmanuel City Mission on an ongoing basis.
The success of the camp and the impact it has made on the participants, their families and our volunteers, was so profound and inspirational that the Australian Association has committed to expand these works to become a regular fixture in Australia (in addition to participation in the wider Asia Pacific program). A camp in NSW has been scheduled for May 2022 and another is planned in VIC in second half of 2022.
Video highlights and testimonials can be found at: Sovereign Order of Malta, Australia