SENIOR members of staff at the Bega Bowlo, along with the Group 16 Rugby League representative team, enjoyed the company of 29 amazingly strong Camp Quality kids last week.

“The usual fortnightly music night at the Bowlo turned into a very special evening for everyone,” Ms Jackie Curtis said.

Local musicians Mark Parker and his daughters, Midge Curtis, Steve Gordon, Gary Williams and Michael Crowe all donated their time and entertained the crowd throughout the evening.

Group 16 players Andrew Korn, Andy Grey, Aaron Lucas, Roger Stewart, Paul Berk, Butch Curtis, Darren Griffin, Semor Butts, Damion O’Brien, Justin Elliot, Michael Edmonds, Dane Burton and Peka Penaia were introduced and needed no encouragement to mingle and make these kids feel welcome at the club.

Front rower Peka Penaia enthralled the whole crowd when he borrowed a guitar and took centre stage.

Songs like La Bamba, Eating Emus and Treaty by Yothu Yindi got the kids cheering and laughing.

Then he sang I Feel Wonderful Tonight and the toughest of men in the room felt an ache in their hearts.

Bega Roosters players Roger Stewart and Aaron Lucas ensured smiles and excitement by gathering the crowd in a circle and individually choosing a Camp Quality member for a special dance in the centre.

The crowd eagerly clapped as each person had their turn.

“Full credit goes to these guys who both have hearts of gold,” Ms Curtis said.

An added bonus for the night was a birthday celebration for Danielle, a camp member who was turning 18 the next day.

She received a cake, candles and a birthday song from everyone present.

The 29 campers and carers had been staying at Kianniny Cabins for the past week.

For the first three days Australian test cricketer Stuart M’gill stayed with them to help out.

Apparently he befriended one young man who has had a really rough time lately and his efforts were particularly appreciated by the group.

These young adults all come from the Sydney area and are aged between 16 and 18 years.

They had not visited the Far South Coast before.

During their stay a range of activities was on offer for them – abseiling off Tathra headland, horse riding at Pambula Beach Riding School, movies at Merimbula, dolphin cruising, a disco at Tathra Hotel, Bournda Lagoon and of course their last night at the Bega Bowling and Sport Club.

Camp leader, Jason Fawset has been a volunteer with Camp Quality for approximately four years.

He explained that a realistic life expectancy is two to three years for a lot of kids with cancer.

Many of them are in remission from the primary cancer but suffer secondary problem causing illnesses.

He gave an insight to the problems caused when families break down.

The pressure of dealing with day to day life along with waiting in hospitals, appointments with specialists, test results and so on ends up just too much for some.

The realisation of just how important these camps are for both the kids and the parents became apparent.

Instinctively, a hat was passed around and more than $100 was made in five minutes. The Bega Bowling and Sporting Club will continue to accept donations for Camp Quality.

Jason and the many other carers thanked staff, directors and the musicians for an enjoyable evening.

For more information on how you can help, phone Camp Quality in Sydney on 9630-5055.

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