Camp Jumbunna was started back in 1994 by Julie Haselgrove. A mum of 3 children with one having severe disabilities. She had become involved in Disability Services and volunteered as a Parent Representative for the Early Intervention network. Through this role, she was invited to attend the National Council of Intellectual Disability conference.
During the 4-day conference, a psychologist from Perth presented a paper about a camp they offered to mothers of children who have disabilities. Julie was excited as the information presented unfolded. She saw pictures of mothers laughing, shedding tears, being together having a break from their caring role in a safe structured environment. There was only one problem, these camps were only held in WA.
As she states in her writing piece from the 10 year booklet:
“I did it for me, I knew that I was in for a long haul in regard to caring for my son and I was tired of struggling through therapy and doctors appointments, trying to manage my grief, juggling children. I needed a break, I needed to nurture myself, I wanted to hear other women’s stories about their sons and daughters. I wanted to build a community around me so that if all else failed I knew that others were in the same boat, I needed to belong. Just as the women on the podium at the conference convinced me, that I needed camp, I believed other mums would feel the same way.”
When she got home, she went to her local parent support group and rallied up support from Judith, Carol and their local Parent Advocate Linda. As they say, the rest is history.