Claire Daly, Gold Participant from Genazzano FCJ College, shares her game-changing experience at Lady Somers Camp for her Residential Project…


Lady Somers Camp is an intense, fun and memorable experience like no other with the aim of challenging perceptions and changing lives. It is a weeklong leadership camp in January, during which mental and physical limits are put to the test and you’re pushed not only as an individual but also as a member of a team. ‘Be yourself because everyone else is taken’ was the theme of Lady Somers Camp 2013. This was the message 100 teenage girls were greeted with by our camp leader on our first day. The week was not only about embracing yourself, but also allowing others to be themselves.

It is a truly unique experience as the camp has the ability to bring different people together. The participants come from a diverse range of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds, not only from across Victoria but also interstate and internationally. In the beginning I didn’t know a single name of another girl in my group. At the end I was surrounded by close friends who I felt like I’ve known for years. The overwhelming sense of community at Somers is amazing. I went to camp as an individual and came back as a member of a new family. Somers not only nurtures the friendships within your own group, but you also develop ties with staff and girls from other groups.

Lady Somers Camp is a week of truly unique challenges and obstacles that are designed to push you and help you achieve things you never thought possible. I am sworn to secrecy about the exact nature of the activities that go on at camp, but what I can disclose is that one incredible week at Somers has had a profound effect on me. The biggest lesson I learnt was positivity. Everyone at camp, from the girls to the staff to the guest speakers had an incredible positive attitude towards camp and a general positive outlook on life.

Everyone returns from camp changed, affected in some way by their experience at Somers. You leave more resilient, determined and with greater self confidence. You learn new skills that can help you achieve your goals and you return inspired by high profile speakers from incredible charities, the music industry and sporting world. I highly recommend it as a Residential Project for the Gold Duke of Ed Award. My advice for future Lady Somers Camp participants is to expect the unexpected, take nothing for granted and play the game.

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