Mathew’s Story: Self-discovery at Fusion Camps
How Mathew found his confidence and voice at Fusion Camp.
In October 2023, Sheffield played host to Fusion Camp, a remarkable initiative aimed at reaching vulnerable children during the October half-term. This is the heartwarming story of Mathew, a 7-year-old boy who attended Fusion Camp, and how this experience transformed him into a confident, engaged, and socially active young person.
As the camp kicked off, Mathew was one of 11 attendees, aged between 5 and 11, representing diverse backgrounds and different schools in the area. For Mathew, this was an opportunity to develop his social skills and make new friends, as he cheerfully shared, “My favourite thing about camp is playing with other children who don’t go to my school.”
The Sheffield Fusion Camp, which was proudly supported by Sheffield Council, not only offered a safe and engaging environment but also provided essential structure during school holidays. Mathew’s initial camp experience, during the Summer of 2023, was a bit challenging. He was reserved, struggled to interact with others, and found it hard to communicate with coaches. However, Fusion Camp proved to be a transformative journey for him.
Over time, Mathew began to find his voice and confidence, thanks to the nurturing atmosphere created by the coaches. He became more expressive about his thoughts and feelings, developing bonds with other campers and creating connections with the coaching staff.
Mathew conveyed his excitement for the October camp, stating, “I really like it here; we get to go outside, play, and make friends.” The activities were designed to cater to the diverse needs and abilities of all campers, with Mathew particularly enjoying new games like ‘Kick Cricket.’ His newfound enthusiasm for physical activity was a testament to Active Fusion’s ability to make exercise fun.
One of the highlights of Mathew’s camp experience was the chance to express his artistic side. He enjoyed getting creative with paints and pens, designing Halloween-themed tops to take home to his parents or caregivers. The joy Mathew derived from being arty with bright colours was evident when he said, “It made me feel happier than ever because it was such a great time.”
But what truly set Fusion Camp apart for Mathew was the infectious enthusiasm of the coaches. He declared, “The coaches are great; you keep us so entertained.” And it was not just the fun activities that kept him coming back; it was the nutritious meals provided at camp that energised him for the day.
The goal of Fusion Camp is to ensure that every child feels included, heard, and seen. Mathew’s transformation, from a quiet, introverted child to a confident, socially engaged young person, illustrates the program’s resounding success.
Active Fusion strives to create an environment where children not only enjoy themselves but also can experience new sports, activities, and games alongside peers from their community.
For Mathew, Fusion Camp was more than just a place to spend school holidays; it was a transformative journey that brought out the best in him. The Active Fusion staff that were present on camp could not praise Mathew enough stating that he was “a pleasure to have on camp” and a fantastic young person who they have thoroughly enjoyed watching progress. He left camp with new friends, cherished memories, and a smile that spoke volumes about the positive impact of the Sheffield Fusion Camp. When being collected by his parents on the final day of camp, Mathew spoke to one of the Active Fusion coaches and said, “I want to come back because I love this place so much, and I want to see you again.”
Mathew’s story is a testament to the power of community, inclusion, and the ability of programs like Fusion Camp to shape young lives for the better.