During 2009 National Literacy & Numeracy Week, Mathletics raised and donated funds for Canteen – The Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer. Specifically, the money raised went directly to funding the Canteen program Girls Aloud. See our blog post on Girls Aloud back in 2009 for more information on the program.

One of our Sydney based Account Managers Judii Cook, was fortunate enough to attend part of the Girls Aloud Weekend which took place on 19th – 20th June 2010. Here is an excerpt of Judii’s experiences below.

“I was lucky enough to spend time with Polly and Mel who took me through the types of things they do at the camp. The camps are held at various locations and the activities they do are largely dependent on the weather and the resources available to them at the site they are at. Contrary to popular belief, the camp is not just for children with cancer. Children who have had siblings with cancer and also parents with cancer attend, so they are all able to share their unique experiences with each other. The workshop I attended was centered around perception and stereotypes and the girls were encouraged to really speak openly about how they think others see them, how they see themselves and how they would like to be seen. It was really an eye-opening experience, and these girls are amazing.

They have the girls take turns to get up and share their story at certain times and one girl who lost her mother (who had cancer several times before it became inoperable) got up to tell her story at breakfast just minutes after I arrived. She was incredibly matter-of-fact about it, while I was doing all I could to stop the lump in my throat from turning in to something else! We also had the pleasure of a visit from a magpie during breakfast who decided to just fly in and hang around the eating area! They also provide some great resources including information on how to eat healthy, how to look your best etc, which of course is something girls this age find important. A lot more goes into this camp than people realise and it all costs money. The staff running these camps are inspirational people who are clearly passionate about what they are doing. They were so appreciative of the fact that we sponsored this camp and I really hope we can continue to do so. In fact, I might actually go back and visit them next time they are holding it down my way.

Without the support of the Mathletics community around Australia, we would not have been able to support this program. Thanks to all the teachers, parents and students who have helped make this possible. For more information on Canteen you can check out their site – www.canteen.org.au