All Home-Based Carers Retreat - June 2024

45 carers experienced the Retreat for All Home-Based Carers held on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People at the Yarra Valley Lodge from Saturday 22 June – Sunday 23 June 2024. A combination of kinship, permanent and foster carers gathered beginning with Uncle Ringo Terrick’s warm Welcome to Country followed by Joanie Bartolo's valuable keynote session on emotion coaching children and young people. Carers spent time building peer connections and the first day ended with a grounding yoga and mindfulness workshop by Laura Grace.

The second day kicked off with informative sessions led by Kinship Carers Victoria, PCA Families and Foster Care Association of Victoria providing carers with guidance regarding navigating support systems and caring for children and young people. Finally, artist, educator and former paramedic Cassie Leatham from Wild Blak Arts presented an incredible afternoon with cultural activities including a bushwalk and weaving bracelets. 

Feedback from carers indicated the retreat was educational as well as being a wonderful opportunity to engage and learn from other carers and to feel supported.

“The retreat exceeded my expectations. I had no idea on how informative it would be, I thought it was just an opportunity to relax and take a break, yet instead it was really informative, especially the tuning into kids sessions and the welcome to country and Cassie were just so moving. My bucket is soooooo full. I was on the verge of tears most of the weekend about how grateful and lucky I felt to be a part of a such a warm and caring community of other carers. Thank you so much to all of you who went above and beyond to make the weekend so special and rewarding, I feel so relaxed and feel like I taken some self-care to be the best mum I can be to my boys xxx” 

“While the sessions were informative and I gained much knowledge from them, my key takeaway was chatting with other carers and sharing our experiences. I felt heard and understood by others in a similar situation.” 

“It was well organised, very relaxing and inspiring.” 

“The first time ever that I found out I am not alone. For the past eight years I have been through so much and I was so overwhelmed. Tuning in to kids/teens gives me so much hope. Being able to connect with them emotionally is key to keeping the relationship going through tough times. “ 

 “I would like to say a massive thank to everyone involved it truly was the best weekend all round.” 

“Meeting with and connecting with like-minded people to help me to better understand trauma in children to aid me in taking care of those in my care and others who I come in contact with.” 

“I have arrived home feeling so relaxed and part of a community who is going through the same experiences of kinship care.” 

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