Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust Camp—15-17 January 2016
Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust (LWCT) is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009. Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for children whose parents or caregivers have been diagnosed with cancer.
In January 2015, we hosted the first LWCT camp during which the participants began creating the Lisa’s Wish Grove at CUE Haven. They built a short walking track, a bench and a welcoming arch which has become one of the most recognisable features of the CUE Haven landscape.
This weekend the second LWCT camp was held. The group arrived on Friday afternoon and included Antonio, Jeremiah, Melody, Nikita, Ronan and Sebastian. Antonio and Nikita also attended last year’s camp. The camp leaders were LWCT trustees Ian Knapman-Smith and Juliet Ireland.
We got acquainted over a snack and gave the group a welcome and an overview of the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.
They then unpacked and we went for a walk to the Lisa’s Wish Grove.
The plan for the camp was to extend the walking track that had been built last year and join it up with the existing wetland boardwalk. The challenge was to find the best route for the track. The alternatives seemed to be through muddy swamp, through thick vegetation or around a steep corner that would require lots of steps.
The team spent some time Friday night studying the problem and agreed on a solution that would involve clearing a relatively flat area then building steps down to the wettest part of route where they would build a bridge to connect to the boardwalk. They were an enthusiastic group and went to work Friday night starting the work, trimming some of the vegetation and transplanting some trees.
It was a very hot weekend and the team decided to start early Saturday morning at 7.30 am before it got too hot. They continued clearing the path and once the soil was exposed, they smoothed and benched the pathway.
On the steeper sections of the tracks they cut steps.
Each step was reinforced with a backing plank held in place by wooden pegs. The team all got a chance to test their skills with mallets and hammers.
And all the hard work has resulted in some very safe, comfortable and professional looking steps!
The next challenge was to build the bridge over the wet part of the track. The bridge took a lot of planning and design. It was built on posts and frames sunk into the ground. The framework was built first. The team determined the framework dimensions and measured and cut the timber.
The framing planks were placed in position so that the location of the support posts could be determined. The team dug the post holes and used old fence posts as the bridge foundation.
The support posts were secured with concrete.
Once the concrete was dry, the bridge framework was constructed. This required lots of careful measuring and nailing.
Once the framework was finished, it was time to finish off the bridge with a top layer of planks. Because the bridge was not square, the planks had to be individually measured and cut and some creativity was needed to determine the best way to do the cutting and spacing of the boards.
The planks were laid out and test fitted on the bridge before being nailed down.
Once they were satisfied with the layout, the entire team got involved in nailing the planks in place.
The team accomplished an amazing amount and it had been a long hot day so they broke for a late but well deserved dinner.
On Sunday morning, they were again up early to finish things off. The first task for the day involved spreading gravel on the new track sections so that the track is safe in all kinds of weather. The gravel was loaded into buckets and the taken up to the Grove.
The final track task involved nailing wire mesh over the bridge so that it isn’t slippery when it is wet and is safe for visitors in all weather.
The team also decided to touch up some of the paint work on the Lisa’s Wish Grove arch. The Lisa’s Wish logo includes handprints and the tag line is “In the Hands of Angels.” The team painted their hands and left their handprints on the arch.
It was a fun way to finish off a very challenging and productive weekend.
And almost all the paint made it onto the arch!
When the work in the field was finished, the team did a major clean up in the cottage.
And then they welcomed family and friends who had been invited to see everything the team had accomplished during the weekend camp.
The team also made a fantastic lunch for the visitors.
We really enjoyed working with the team and really appreciated their enthusiasm and dedication. Here is what they have accomplished.
Congratulations! An absolutely amazing accomplishment considering the short time the team was at CUE Haven.
We want to thank Rosemarie Knapman-Smith for all her efforts with organising the camp and her on-going support and we look forward to hosting more LWCT outings and camps.
Our many thanks to Ian and Juliet for serving as camp leaders and for all their hard work and leadership which helped make this camp so successful.
And most of all, a BIG thank you to the students. We enjoyed meeting and working with you all and thank you so much for all of your hard work on a very hot weekend! You have made a significant contribution to Lisa’s Wish Grove and to the CUE Haven project. The track and bridge you built will last for many, many years and will enable visitors an opportunity to explore the wetlands and Lisa’s Wish Grove comfortably and safely.
We wish you all the very best with your studies and do look forward to having you all back again to visit us.