Wombat's Wish
Victoria's leading grief support service for children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent

Wombat’s Wish Programs

Weekend Programs

Central to everything we do at Wombat’s Wish is our flagship Weekend Programs.

Since launching our first Wombat’s Wish weekend program in 2005, we’ve gone on to extend our program throughout Victoria and now host programs in Anglesea, Queenscliff, Goulburn Valley and Bass Coast. In 2023, we’re running eight weekend programs for bereaved children and young people across the state.

Our weekend programs are a lot of fun! They’re also incredibly meaningful and helpful, whether your family is six months or five years into your grief journey.

Our weekend programs are a safe place for a grieving child/young person to grow, using programs developed by our psychologists and delivered by a highly qualified team of psychologists, social and youth workers, and trained volunteers.

The program helps children and young people better understand their grief, and teaches them strategies to regulate difficult emotions. We focus on practical coping strategies to grieve in healthy ways, increasing confidence and self-esteem while reducing any associated harmful mental health impacts.

Together, in our inclusive and supportive environment, they can access important information and resources, express themselves and make important new friendships with their peers who are also going through this difficult time.

Many parents and carers talk about the incredibly meaningful connections and new friendships that they build during the weekend program, and we know that for many, weekend program can be a life-changing experience.

Wombat’s Wish also facilitates a special Youth programs for young people aged 12-17 who have attended a weekend program. Read more about our Youth Weekend Program here.

My children and I were lucky enough for Wombat’s Wish to invite us to
attend a weekend program in Corop.
They provide support to the children and the surviving parent after the death of a parent/partner and therapy-based activities to support the process of grieving in a healthy way.

We have formed some amazing new widow mumma friendships and some I have no doubt will be additions to our family. There were many, many tears shed by both the girls and myself but there was just as many “ahh me too” moments to validate we aren’t alone in our feelings and thoughts throughout this journey.”

– Jessica, Parent

“I just want to say thank you for such an amazing weekend. I cannot put  into words how incredible it was for us, just blown away and incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. It was extraordinary and so powerful.”

– Nea, Parent

Our programs have special events both for children/young people, as well as for parents/carers.

At the weekend program, children get to spend time in a small group with kids their own age, who they can relate to. Together, in a relaxed and welcoming environment, they’re enabled to:

  • Discover and share new coping techniques for bad days
  • Discuss their thoughts and express their feelings about life now
  • Honour special stories or memories of their important person.

These activities are meaningful and interactive and give children the opportunity to express their creativity and be completely, comfortably themselves.

But here’s the best part – weekend programs are really fun. Kids get to enjoy a lot of fantastic adventure activities in a natural Aussie environment, from archery and ropes courses to flying fox or even the giant swing.

We often host special workshops teaching things like circus skills and magic tricks, and make sure that there’s plenty of free time on hand to just relax, with colouring tables, books, sensory toys, trampolines, giant chess, ball games, air hockey and more.

On Saturday night, kids and parents team up in family groups to compete in Minute To Win It games, and on Sunday we finish the weekend with a special ceremony to reaffirm the strengths and positive qualities of each of our fantastic children and young people on Weekend Program.

Our weekend programs activities are evidence-based, facilitated by our dedicated team of experienced mental health professionals and designed to provide a nurturing, fun and incredibly meaningful weekend for your whole family.

During the weekend programs, parents and carers explore their own specially tailored group program, designed to provide them with essential support, tools, resources, care and strategies throughout their journey.

Does it cost money to attend weekend programs? No. All Wombat’s Wish programs are run at no cost whatsoever to families.

Can I and my child/young person attend weekend programs? Yes. Our weekend programs is for both children/young people, and their parent/carer to attend. Parents and carers attend their own day program at a nearby location, but reconnect with their children in the afternoons for meals, relaxation, games and other special moments together.

How do I enquire about going on a weekend program? Our enquiry process is called ‘making a referral’, and it’s really simple and quick to do. In the Menu bar, you’ll find our Referrals page, or you can click here.

Can I make a referral for myself or somebody I know? Yes. Anybody can make a referral to Wombat’s Wish to find out more about attending one of our weekend programs. So if you are a parent, carer, friend or provider of professional support to a child or young person who has experienced the death of a parent, just fill in our easy referral form. Once a referral or enquiry is made, our friendly team will be in touch shortly to have a chat.

What is a pre-camp Family Consult? A Family Consult is a friendly visit or Zoom catch-up with our Wombat’s Wish team, all of whom have years of experience and qualifications in assessing and supporting young people and their families. At an assessment, we’ll talk a little about the important person who died, how the family is managing, their needs, and make sure that everybody feels ready and supported to attend a weekend Wombat’s Wish programs.

Are there weekend programs in my area? Yes! As Wombat’s Wish continues to grow to fulfil demand, we currently facilitate weekend camps across the state, in locations that are accessible to as many people as possible. In 2023, our program locations are Anglesea (Surf Coast), Queenscliff (Bellarine Peninsula), Grantville (Bass Coast/ Eastern Victoria) and Corop (Goulburn Valley/ Northern & Central Victoria). If you need support to travel to a camp, let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

Is Wombat’s Wish Weekend programs religious? No. Wombat’s Wish is a community-based organisation. We are not affiliated with, or representative of, any religious organisation. Our grief support programs and services are fully evidence-based, and we are committed to providing a welcoming, safe and supportive environment for children and families of all religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Some of the camp buildings that we use are managed by religious organisations, however, our programs operate fully independently and are facilitated only by trained, qualified Wombat’s Wish staff and volunteers.

Get in touch with us to find out more about our weekend program – we’re always happy to help.

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Wombat’s Wish acknowledges the Wadawarrung, Taungurung and Bunurong peoples as Traditional Custodians of the lands from which we live and work,
and we pay our deep respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.