All at sea: Maddison, Alyssa and Logan sail with members of the Ballaarat Yacht Club on Saturday. Photos: JEREMY BANNISTER

Legacy camp makes lasting memories

January 9, 2020 BY

KIDS and families brought together by the affects of Australia’s recent military deployments were out sailing on Lake Wendouree on Saturday.

The event was part of a camp run by Legacy Ballarat and saw about 50 children and their caregivers take part in activities across the region.

Karl Dodds and Tilly before they take to the lake.

“Each year for the last 10 years we’ve conducted a camp for young Legacy families,” said Allan McKinnon, president of Ballarat branch.

“The perception for many in the community is probably that Legacy just looks after World War Two widows. In actual fact because of more contemporary conflicts like Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor, Legacy has a whole new clientele.”

While the focus is often on those injured and killed on the battlefield, Mr McKinnon said mental health issues faced by returned service men and women is just as challenging for families.

That in turn has led Legacy to do more in helping returned service personnel and extend the organisation’s reach.

“The charter has changed, so we look after families even though the partner may not have passed away or been killed in action or suffering physical health problems,” Mr McKinnon said.

“It’s very difficult for children to grow up in a family where one parent is battling some form of mental illness, Legacy stands to support those families.”

Based out of Sovereign Hill, while in the region attendees spent time at Log Cabin Camp in Creswick, The Ballarat Wildlife Park, as well as on the lake with the Yacht Club and other activities.

Legacy Ballarat is currently supporting 25 people in the region, from pre-school aged kids to young adults in university.

They include Kim Turner six-year-old daughter who was out sailing on the lake.

Ms Turner said both her and her child were making connections while on the camp.

“She’s trying everything and hasn’t stopped,” Ms Turner said. “Yesterday she was flat out and she’s starting to make friends with the other kids as well. It’s been great.

“I’m starting to meet other mums. I think we need it because there isn’t that much support around Ballarat, really. Through Legacy, when you meet people, they show you different support areas to go to for help.”

Francis peeks out from behind the mast.

The Ballaarat Yacht Club had 25 members helping out on the day and treasurer Brian Canny said involvement in the camp was a way to give the Legacy families a new experience.

“We think it’s a nice way for the club to give back to the community,” he said.

“We’re privileged to be able to do this. We have the facilities, we have the yachts, to be able to provide this to Legacy families is phenomenal.”

With so much going on over the four days of the camp, Mr McKinnon said the event and attendees benefited greatly from the assistance of the venues they visited.

“This whole camp runs and is supported so generously by key Ballarat organisations,” Mr McKinnon said. “We get financial consideration and, in some cases, completely free admittance, and it’s just so appreciated. It’s a real community thing to do.”