Raising funds for homeless

BOYS and girls from the Forster-Tuncurry, Taree and Wingham Scouts groups camped out in the cold and under Wingham's batty night sky, to raise awareness and help Mission Australia raise vital funds for homeless services throughout Australia.

In doing so, the Scouts were trying to transform the lives of homeless Australians who don't have the power to choose where they sleep each night.

The Scouts camped in cardboard boxes, and activities included competitions for the best constructed shelter and best designed shelter.

The older Scouts, also known as Venturers, provided music and video entertainment for the younger Cub Scouts (aged 8-10) and Scouts (aged 10-14).

Hot Milo was served before the Scouts entered their cardboard shelters for the night.

On the Sunday morning there was a discussion on the plight of the homeless and what young people can do to help.

Some meaningful ways are as simple as understanding who the homeless are, educating ourselves about the homeless, respecting them as individuals and responding with kindness and patience.

Other ways would be to volunteer time at shelters and soup kitchens, and donate clothes, recyclables and non-perishable groceries.

Mission Australia participants have been sleeping out in winter for more than 25 years now, and Scouts have done their bit to help ever since.

The original Winter Sleepout was held in Sydney's Martin Place in 1988, where participants braved a night on the cold, granite pavement.

There are an estimated 105,000 Australians who are homeless every night. More than 17 per cent of the homeless population are under the age of 12, with another 10 per cent in the age group 12-18.