Who can be a SNUG volunteer?
Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and age groups. They are selected for their caring attitudes and ability to relate to others. Volunteers have a genuine interest in enhancing the enjoyment of family life.
All volunteers must attend a comprehensive training program. All volunteers will undergo required working with children and criminal record checks.
Why do we need volunteers?
Volunteers are essential to operate our programs. We rely on your skills to run many of the activities on camp/retreat from sporting to craft. There are endless opportunities to share your skills with the families and share some laughter and fun in their lives.
Role of the SNUG volunteer
- To be part of a program that works towards fostering the emotional and social wellbeing of families that have a child with special needs.
- To assist in the development of creating sustainable connections within the community that provides the family with an opportunity to enhance the structures that surround and support all members of their family.
- To work within program guidelines to assist and provide support and activities that allows families to enjoy the camp’s atmosphere and create an environment that enhances the opportunity for families to create friendships that lead to an improved quality of time spent together.
- Attendance at a Volunteer Preparation Course
- Have the ability to (or willingness to learn) how to positively work with families that have children with special needs.
- Have an understanding of the difficulties that are faced by families living in rural or remote communities.
- High level of communication skills (especially the ability to listen).
- To be a caring and honest person who values difference and is prepared to listen whilst not providing medical advice/services.
- To have the capacity to show that you regard the parents as the experts in their own lives.
- To have the understanding of how empowering it is for the family to find their own solutions to the challenges that they face.
- Have the ability to know when to allow the family to have their own space.
- Have the ability to assist families to identify the joy in life.
- To be able to participate in & /or facilitate activities that involves all members of the family.
- To be able to accompany families to medical appointments as needed.
- Maintain personal boundaries that provide the family with dignity and respect.
- Able to display genuine empathy.
- Able to contribute and work as part of a team.
• Current first aid certificate
How will volunteering benefit me?
- Volunteering for the SNUG program will benefit you in a numbers of ways:
Have lots of fun and develop friendships with other volunteers
- Know that you are assisting a family in having a holiday that they otherwise may not have access to
- Gain knowledge and skills in children with rare health conditions and their families
- Meet other volunteers studying the same degree
- Gain an understanding of other degrees and professions you may need to work with when taking on a Multi-Disciplinary perspective
- Be able to build your resume
Things to bring
- Appropriate clothing (no singlets), sun hat
- Covered shoes for activities plus extra pair for water activities
There are sometimes opportunities for volunteers to stay. If so please bring
- Toiletries and Medication
- Pillow slip, sheets and sleeping bag/doona (pillows are provided)
- Bath towel
As well as playing an important role in running the camp, volunteers are learning a great deal about working with children with special needs and their families.
Volunteer 1: I guess I learned to take the whole family approach and not just about the person in front of you. I think that was the biggest thing I learned.
Volunteer2: I think the one thing that I realised was just how difficult things like getting to the hospital, getting to appointments really are - in terms of, you have to have all that extra time to load kids into the van and find a car park, unload them. Just the amount of time that it really takes - and effort to get to all the appointments. It was kind of, just astounding. You’ve got no idea. And that time you spend in the waiting room. Because I went to an appointment at the John Hunter and spent three hours waiting outside with one of the siblings, just trying to entertain them for that amount of time. It was really difficult.
Volunteer 3: I’ve got a few clients at the moment, at my placement and they’ll come in with parents and say, ‘oh sorry, we’re just so busy, we didn’t get time to do the homework [set by an allied health professional]’. Before I was at the camp I would just think, oh they don’t care much or they’re just a bit lazy, but you can really see why people just don’t get the homework done. When you see people’s lifestyle and you forget what it was like when you were a kid, especially when things were a little bit tougher or you can’t understand them or whatever.
Volunteer 4: I feel more comfortable and more confident to deal with various types of disabilities when I get out. I think most people are scared to think about it. So I feel a lot more confident to take that with me.