The Apco Foundation is thrilled to support The "Copsnkids" program as their first project. It is an extremely worthy cause and is a program run by Ballarat Police, in conjunction with many organisations, including Royal Children's Hospital and Challenge; a support network for children with cancer and their families. It is run at no cost to the attendees due to the generosity of the Ballarat community and businesses. Local businesses, community and service groups, as well as the general community and tourist operators donate time, money and services to ensure that the children attending the Cops ‘N' Kids camp have a time to remember.
The program conducts two camps each year and various other activities and outings, such as Puffing Billy train ride, Adventure Park, in Geelong. The two camps are the Ballarat families Camp, which is conducted at Maldon, usually held in October and the Ballarat Camp, which is usually held in November.
The children attending the Ballarat camp are selected from those undergoing treatment at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and are aged between 4 and 8 years of age. They are from all over Regional Victoria. The children, their carers and the support staff totalling about 140 people are accommodated at Sovereign Hill Lodge, Magpie Street, Ballarat. Local Police officers take time out to attend the camp over the 4 days giving a special thrill for the kids to hang out with the "Cops".
The idea of the weekend is to allow some respite for the families with seriously ill children from the everyday anxieties and caring responsibilities of their child.
From 1996's first camp for 16 children we have grown to accommodate approximately 60 children since 2000. The camp is held in November each year with a budget of between $270,000 and $280,000.
To date 595 children and countless numbers of carer's, volunteer's and police members have had the opportunity to be part of these camps.
Sharon Gleeson - APCO Foundation Chair