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31 January, 2018

School Holiday Adventure at Fitzroy Falls

A young client on the flying fox at Fitzroy Falls

During the summer school holidays, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT ran a Youth Program for teenagers with vision impairment at Fitzroy Falls in the Southern Highlands.

A number of teenagers participated in the program, with the logistics of the trip organised by the group in an earlier planning session, including activities, mode of transport, what to pack and even where to stop for lunch.

The aim of the program was to develop the independent mobility and daily living skills of all participants while targeting leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

Activities included kayaking, swimming, jump rock, high ropes, flying fox, giant swing, bushwalking, cultural and team activities and a ‘Master Chef’ evening.

Participants enjoying activities at the Fitzroy Falls Youth Program

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Paul Hartley, said along with being a great learning experience, Youth Programs also allow young participants to meet other people who are vision impaired.

“It gives them the opportunity to socialise and share experiences with each other about having vision loss and what works best for them,” he said.

While training Guide Dogs is an important part of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT work, the organisation’s most common program is showing people with impaired vision how to safely move through different environments, using a range of mobility aids and electronic devices.

Participants enjoying activities at the Fitzroy Falls Youth Program

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides a wide range of free services to assist a child with vision impairment to participate freely in everyday activities at school, at home and in the local community. Last year, the organisation assisted close to 500 children with sight loss and continues to rely on the support of the community to fund its free services.

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who become blind.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will continue run Youth Programs in the school holidays throughout 2018. To register interest, or for more information please email youth [at] guidedogs.com.au