I first experienced Flying Fox after graduating high school in 2016 when I participated in their junior summer camp for children and adolescents. Ever since this initiation, I have loved being involved in this world. Not only is Flying Fox a fantastic organisation that provides unique social opportunities for people with disabilities, but it also engages young people who may never have otherwise been involved with the disability sector in experiences that are positive and uplifting.
In the lead up to my first camp with Flying Fox, I had heard many incredible accounts of the camp experience from former participants. However, no second-hand recollection could have fully encapsulated what became a uniquely enriching experience for me. As a first-time volunteer with no prior experience in the disability sector, camp was an especially educational and social environment where I witnessed and created many beautiful memories. My personal highlight was bonding around the campfire and singing songs together as a group. Overall, my first experiences on a camp like this have taught me so much more than any disability-based educational course or training. With much guidance and support from the incredibly empathetic and professional staff, I have learnt first-hand about compassion, perspective, and the many incredible triumphs that individuals with varying support requirements (and the community at large) are capable of achieving.
Working and volunteering in the disability sector also inspires individuals to take action and contribute to the community in their own way. More specifically, I have seen friends of mine be inspired by their experiences with disability and proceed to conceptualise and create businesses that further address the needs of the community, which are not being sufficiently met by the current disability sector. These organisations include employment and coordination networks for support workers and families of people with support requirements, as well as day care/professional services catering to people with additional needs. It is truly astounding to see the ripple effect that these initiatives have professionally as well as socially.
“No second-hand recollection could have fully encapsulated what became a uniquely enriching experience for me.”
Personally, I can say that my experiences with Flying Fox have not only impacted me positively as an individual but also as a member of the wider community. They have given me a new perspective that has complemented all other areas of my life. As a physiotherapy student, personal trainer and overall ‘health nut’, my interests have led me to become aware of and further investigate the health conditions that are common amongst people with disabilities. Therefore, with my passion for health combined with my experiences as a volunteer in the disability sector, I have been inspired to start up ‘Max Movement’ – a social business seeking to address these health inequalities.
The aims of Max Movement are to respond to health inequalities by maximising the health of people with additional support requirements through goal-oriented games and exercises in a fun, social and supportive environment. In addition, as an ethical business, 10% of profits will be donated in support of the disability sector and its health outcomes. I hope that with the engagement and support of our wonderful community, we can further encourage good habits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits and mindfulness. While none of these actions are magic pills, they are amongst the most tried and tested ‘controllables’ to maximise future health outcomes.
Together as a community, let’s take our health and the health of our loved ones into our own hands. Together, let’s control the controllables. Together, let’s encourage each other to get healthier and move forward!
I am so grateful for my experiences with Flying Fox and look forward to seeing how Max Movement can improve the current standard of health in the disability sector. Let’s get moving