Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded of just how important the Little Dreamers movement is.
So, sitting in Heathrow Airport while waiting to begin the 24-hour journey home to Melbourne, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the two weeks that have reinvigorated our mission, provided us with new ideas and strengthened our international partnerships.On Sunday 12 May, myself and Tasha, our Family Support Coordinator, left Melbourne for Oslo, Norway and the ‘It Takes a Village’ conference. The purpose of the conference was to explore and deepen support for children in families affected by mental illness and addiction. Through attending these types of conferences in the past, there were many people, presentations and new research papers I was keen to acquaint myself with. We attended 10 presentations per day, learning from individuals and organisations from more than 30 countries about the programs and practices they have implemented in their local areas. We discussed legislation with leading researcher Agnes Leu and explored what the perfect support for Young Carers would look like in Canada with researcher Fitsum Arguy and Young Carers Michaella and Emily.
I was proud to present twice at the conference: once on the Little Dreamers story and the programs that we run, and a second time as part of an international expert panel discussing the Young Carer landscape in Australia.
The conference showed us that while Australia feels far away from everything, we aren’t that far behind in our Young Carer support compared to other countries around the world. We have further to go when it comes to our research and legislation, however we should be proud of how far we have come in the past 10 years and the programs that we run, as they really are world class. With almost two free days in Oslo, we explored the city and even participated in the Norway National Day celebrations on 17 May.
With full heads and excited hearts, we boarded a plane to London the next day for a full week of meetings with partners, entrepreneurs and incredible individuals making waves in their industries. I have been lucky enough to travel to London a few times for Little Dreamers and each time I am blown away by the people who agree to sit down with us, the advice they give us, and the ideas we come away with as a result.
From marketing extraordinaire Mathew Phelan; researcher Professor Saul Becker; Queens Commonwealth Trust CEO Nicola Brentnall; Young Carer experts Helen Leadbitter, Eva Jolly and Feylyn Lewis; and inspirational entrepreneur Katee Hui, the caliber of people we know in London just keeps reaching new levels. We spent time further developing our embedded impact measurement framework to continue to improve the quality of life for Young Carers in Australia, discussed the possibility of future Young Carer research and began to think about what exactly Little Dreamers looks like in 10 years’ time.
We even squeezed in some tourist things, because what even is London without a couple of West End shows, a visit to Buckingham Palace, and arcade games at Brighton Pier?
It’s always underestimated how difficult it can be to work remotely with an 8-9-hour time difference, but I am heading home with a head full of new ideas, efficiencies to put in place and boundaries to push. We’re about to kick Little Dreamers up a notch (or 10) and I’m pretty bloody excited about it.