There’s nothing unique about a father going camping with his son, but The Younger Heroes isn’t an ordinary camping experience.
The four-day outing is designed to reconnect veterans with their children and through trekking, bush skills and campfire activities, participants work on their resilience, teamwork and communication.
“No one can ever take this from us now”
Peter Brown recently attended a Younger Heroes camp with his son Mason and said it was an experience like no other.
“I have never had time like it before with Mason,” Brown said.
“Creating special memories like this has made our lives better. No one can ever take this from us now and we hope that other parents and their kids are lucky enough to share what we have.”
In a heartbeat
With an offer to ‘connect, grow together and foster a strong bond’, the Australian Army reservist was easily persuaded to attend the camp, but his son needed a little convincing.
“Unfamiliar activities have always worried Mason, but with encouragement and knowing we would be doing it together he quickly looked forward to the camp – and if you asked him about it now, he would go again in a heartbeat!”
Camp participants are guided every step of the way by a team of professional practitioners from the areas of psychology, sports, business and the military.
“Their knowledge, care, understanding and patience created the most welcoming environment imaginable. Each leader brought their own skill set, but they all brought an openness and care to allow Mason and I to build our relationship,” Brown said.
Like father, like son
The fostering environment allowed Peter and Mason to learn about each other and become closer.
“There are so many funny moments we shared, learning we did together and times we were challenged that we will forever hold closely.”
Equally memorable was the group they shared the experience with.
“I felt so fortunate to watch Mason interact and learn from the others on the camp, including other kids, parents and the wonderful Younger Heroes team. I was privileged to watch Mason grow in front of my eyes and this was due to the fantastic people with us.”
Improving mental health
Peter said the camp taught him about different aspects of health.
“I have always spent time working on my physical health, thinking that was the key to a healthy life. Experiences like this with The Younger Heroes helped put things into perspective.
“Yes, physical health is important, but letting this eat into time with my kids had a negative impact on my mental health. Prioritising has become essential, doing ‘things’ with my boys is a focus and this helps both them and I be healthy. By taking care of each other we are ensuring our overall health is maximised,” he said.