For the 4 million enrolled school-aged children across Australia, the summer holidays are welcomed with unmatched anticipation and excitement. After the final bell rings out for the year and the school gates are firmly closed – six weeks of sleep-ins, socialising and sun begin.

For the 235,000 young carers in Australia, however, the summer holidays look a little different.

Young carers are children and young people up to the age of 25 who care for a relative or friend with disability, a medical condition, mental illness, or who is frail due to age. The level of responsibility many of them assume are beyond their years and this can interfere with their social development, particularly during the school holidays.

This is why Little Dreamers, a young carer support provider who partner with Wellways Carer Gateway, run school holiday programs designed to allow young carers the time to enjoy some respite, meet other young carers and take part in some exciting activities they otherwise would not have access to; and this summer’s program was one to remember!

Little Dreamers, Queensland Program Manager, Lindsay Laskus said, "During our School Holiday Programs, Young Carers are able to have respite from their caring responsibilities while experiencing the joy of being a kid. It's also a time for Young Carers to enjoy peer interaction in a wholesome supportive environment. Our staff encourage connection, play, mentoring, as well as safety at every activity. We at Little Dreamers love our School Holiday Program and look forward to seeing the smiles on all the Young Carers faces at the end of the day."

With the support of the Wellways Carer Gateway’s speciality service team, young carers in Southeast Queensland, splashed out in White Water World! The young carers experienced the thrill of the water slides and had a ball in the wave pool.

In Bundaberg, Mon Repos Turtle Centre was the ticket! The group enjoyed a guided ranger tour along the beach looking at nests and learning about Turtle habitats.

Meanwhile, in Bargara the surf was up at Stoked Surf School, with a group of young carers learning what it takes to catch a wave (very well)! Another highlight was the Day on the Lake Program, where young carers enjoyed two hours on the inflatable aqua park before taking turns tubing on the banana boat.

Wellways, Carer Gateway Specialty Services Coordinator, Lyn Smith, said, “For young carers, it is so important being able to make connections with peers, and simply be able to enjoy unstructured play and socialising, which is vital to their wellbeing and development. Being able to support young carers is such a rewarding part of the role we play.”

Of course, not all young carers were able to join certain activities. Never fear, as Little Dreamers also ran online programs for young ones to get together, laugh, be silly and just be children. The Neon-Sour Online Mystery Box Party delivered some fun-themed hip hop dance moves, with one young carer describing it as the “best box ever!”

The school holiday program wrapped up in Bundaberg with an arts, crafts, cake decorating and karaoke before sharing a pizza lunch and saying some very sad goodbyes.

Thanks to our wonderful partners Little Dreamers, and Carer Gateway, these young carers were able to start school last week with stories of summer, new friends and connections, and memories that will last forever.

If you know of or are a young carer yourself, and would like to learn more about support services for young carers, help is available via Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or visit