Donna, Isabella, Summer, & Olivia


00:00 Speaker 1: So, I have three girls, a sole parent. And I need to work full time over the school holidays. I have a family business in the village. And I did lots of investigations about some good reviews, with different school holiday programs. And for me it was important to have somewhere that had a rebate, which made it a bit more economical. And also, I wanted somewhere close by. We did try a couple of different teen kids, and then when we found this one, with Caitlin here, who the girls really clicked with, it just worked. Everyone was really happy, familiar... And they have a great space, really good activities, and it was just very easy for me. So, as soon as I found that, and the girls were happy to come, then I found a solution.

00:41 S1: The girls have days where sometimes they're a little bit sleepy, or a bit tired. And they come in, and they see a whole lot of people, some that they don't know, and some that they do. They find out what's on the board for the day. Usually, word of the mouth about what sort of activities are ahead of them. And there's often a bit of apprehension, not knowing what those activities are. And at the end of the day I pick them up. When they had the dance rumble, they were so excited about the dance rumble... "You know, we had a professional dancer there, teaching us how to do hip-hop. And they're amazing, and we can't wait to go back to the next activity."

01:13 S1: So, what it teaches them, is that resilience to understand what the activities are. To not maybe know what that exactly looks like, but to have a go and participate. And then at the end of the day, usually they're very rewarded with sort of a really happy outcome. So, that means that I'm delivering as a parent. They're safe, they're happy, they're having fun, really good experiences. But they're also growing, making new relationships. So, it sort of ticks the boxes for me.

01:38 S1: Yeah look, it is really difficult. The girls often say, "Lots of other moms get to stay at home at school holidays, we don't get to do that." And that's a hard question to answer, as I say to them, "I'm a sole parent, I have to work in order to be able to pay the mortgage, and put food on the table." But we find a balance where half the school holidays they come here, and then half of those school holidays we actually do some activities, going camping, generally. And they're okay with that. Also, letting them know that they need these experiences. They can't just be with me all the time. They need to be here making new friends, having new experiences, otherwise they're not gonna develop properly as pre-teens, or as... And because I've got three girls that are 6, 8 and 10, there's some different ages there, so you've really gotta have something that suits all of their needs. So yeah, I think that there's definitely guilt, but very minimal, because I know that they're getting a lot out of this... More than what I could provide them if they were at home with me, and I was trying to work from home.

02:35 S1: I think that I've got lots of friends that don't participate in the school holiday programs. They get really stressed out during the holidays. They've got tired, ratty kids, and maybe the family dynamic is a bit of a disadvantage because of it... Try it, try it. It's not that expensive if you sort of accrue little bits along the school term. It's really good for the children. It's important to get them into a routine, where they understand that they can't be doing fun stuff outside the home, just with you all the time. They have to have a responsibility of being part of a family, and doing something like this, so that you can still work as a parent. And there's lots of... I've got parents that are single parents, and I've got other parents that are unwell, or that have lots of other issues, lots of dynamics in their life. And it's really, as I say to them, "You just have to get them in the rhythm."

03:24 S1: If they understand that they're gonna not only come to one of these school holiday programs, they're gonna have a really good time. They're gonna actually look forward to it. And it becomes an integrated part of family life, and that's really important for us. We couldn't live without this. I couldn't work, I couldn't run my business, I couldn't... And I've had cancer over the last two to three years, so that's been really difficult. So for me, just to not have to worry about this, to alleviate that concern... To have people like Caitlin here, that are just so... Go above and beyond to make my middle child, Summer, who can be a little bit spirited sometimes, to make her feel at ease, not anxious. For that, a bit of extra measures, that makes all the difference to me, as a mother. So I feel like I'm smashing it, which is good. [chuckle] I'll take that.