ERFA supports Edmund Rice Camps Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. Edmund Rice Camps provide social learning opportunities through residential camps and recreational experiences for children and youth (7 to16) and families across Australia. Participants are socially and financially disadvantaged and at risk and Edmund Rice Camps experiences enable them to strengthen their capacities and sense of self-worth. Participants are referred by community service providers with whom ERCs work in partnership. Over 1,500 disadvantaged children are engaged and supported annually by around 1,800 young adult volunteers, aged from 17 to 25 who staff the camps.
The Camps are a vibrant, youthful expression of the Edmund Rice spirit and provide personal development opportunities for young adults in leadership, social understanding and social consciousness by empowering them to assist those in need in their communities. Camping programs now include children’s camps, family camps and camps for indigenous and refugee children and families. From their origins in Melbourne in 1981 at Parade College, Bundoora, for Vietnamese refugee children, ERCs now operate in all Australian states and overseas in England, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa and Tanzania.
Edmund Rice Camps also promotes and encourages the personal growth development of young adult volunteer leaders. A typical camp sees about 25 kids living, working and playing alongside around 25 volunteer leaders. The role of a leader on these camps is more than purely recreation; leaders need to serve as a friend and mentor. The camps offer young adult volunteers the experience of serving more vulnerable members of the community, with the opportunity to develop confidence and skills as a leader and a chance to grow in empathy with a broader social understanding and awareness.
Volunteers form the backbone of Edmund Rice Camps services and activities. Edmund Rice Camps welcomes new volunteers to work alongside those that volunteer regularly. The fun and friendship is contagious and many volunteers find themselves part of the organisation over five, ten or even twenty years.
The ERCRS program based in St Albans provides educational support to young students of a refugee background. Many of the recently arrived young people, who have been accepted into Australia on a refugee visa, have had very disrupted or non-existent schooling. The great majority are struggling to come to terms with the English language and to fit into a new educational environment. ERCRS assists these students in this transition. The program is integrated with the opportunity to learn more about social and recreational opportunities around Melbourne.Visit the ERCRS Website
Aboriginal & Multicultural Children and Youth Program, WA
The Edmund Rice Centre (ERCM) was founded to meet the growing needs of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) community, as well as the Aboriginal community, in the north metropolitan area of Perth. The Centre provides classes including English language, computing, food & nutrition, “Women Together” and life-skills. It also provides driver education, housing assistance and Youth Sports & Leadership programs. The Centre incorporates family camps and social activities that encourage community harmony and integrate the Aboriginal and CaLD communities into the greater Australian society.Visit the ERCM Website
The Edmund Rice Centre in Homebush West undertakes a range of projects including research, advocacy, networking, engaging with schools and the community sector, running cross-cultural immersion programs and conducting in-services and training. It also produces a number of publications including newsletters, specific research and submission papers.Visit the ERC Website