“Lots of people are…. oh no” said Max as tears welled up in his eyes. After excitedly agreeing to an interview, Max’s voice faltered when I asked him about how the drought has affected his home town of Somerton in the North West region of NSW.
The drive out there from Sydney was a sobering experience, with the impact of the drought clear to see. Roads are lined with charred trees from the Hawkesbury to the Hunter, the scars of the devastating Gospers Mountain bushfire. Further north, the roads are lined with bare and dusty paddocks. This is an all too familiar sight for people living in the grip of one of the worst droughts on record.
Max was one of 350 kids from intense drought affected areas who attended one of five free sport and recreation camps across the state as part of the NSW Government’s Drought Break initiative. The camps were designed to give kids like Max a break from the drought and the opportunity to have fun and make new friends. Accommodation, activities, and meals were covered as part of the program.
Scott Henry, Program Officer at Lake Keepit Sport and Recreation Centre, said the idea was for kids to “come here and not have a worry in the world for a week. Things like going for a swim in a natural water source, even though we don’t have a lot of water out here…. it’s probably the closest water source for 100km. The real focus...is just about having fun with the kids, having a good time and making sure they go home with a smile on their face.”
Sadly, we can’t break the drought, but at least we can give kids a break from the drought.
Check out the video above for more insight into how the drought has affected kids from the North West.
By James Chatman, Senior Marketing Advisor at the Office of Sport