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You Will Make Lifelong Friends and Immerse Yourself in Your Heritage | GCM Summer Camp Reunion

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You Will Make Lifelong Friends and Immerse Yourself in Your Heritage | GCM Summer Camp Reunion

On Saturday 2 September, the Greek Community of Melbourne hosted both the 2022 and 2023 Summer Camp participants at The Greek Centre. Chaired by GCM board members Tass Sgardelis and Dean Kotsianis, the campers were invited to give feedback on their experience and reflect on their time in Thessaloniki.

The group of 30 discussed their time in Northen Greece and how their experiences had impacted their cultural understanding of both Greece and Australia. The participants in attendance described their time on the camp to be one that not only brought them closer to their ethnic identity, but also provided them the opportunity to make friends and connections with Greeks living in Australia.

Participant Zara Bakkalis explained her time on the camp was “an opportunity that you don’t come across every day.” She stated that “the camp […] deepened my understanding of my culture and inspired me to further explore this part of my identity.” She further stated that attending the reunion let her “reminisce about [her] adventures in Greece” as well as “reconnect with the people [she’d] developed such close friendships with.”

Also attending the reunion were a few participants from Canberra who had travelled to Melbourne to attend the reunion. They explained how the camp experience had broadened their horizons in terms of making connections with other like-minded individuals who lived across Australia.

Canberran participant Christopher Kay stated the following in relation to his experiences in Thessaloniki: “Participating in the Summer Camp allowed me to reconnect with my Greek heritage while also meeting a diverse group of dedicated young Greeks from throughout Australia to form lifelong friendships. I truly loved participating in the camp's many activities, which ranged from museum trips to wine tastings and even cooking lessons!”

Amongst favourite activities was the three-night stay in Kavala, which allowed the participants to explore a different aspect of Northern Greece’s vast beauty. Participants also reflected fondly on their time exploring Thessaloniki’s hidden secrets with the help of students from the Aristotle University who also attended the camp.

Some of the suggested feedback that the GCM received was:

  • Run our Greek for Travellers course in the evening. This way participants who worked would be able to attend
  • The GCM to host more information sessions regarding the process.
  • Create more opportunities for the selected participants to meet and interact prior to the camp.

When asked whether he’d recommend the Summer Camp to other Greek-Australian youth, student Emmanouil Vourvahakis stated: “I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the various activities that the camp had to offer us […] I would highly recommend the experience for any young Greek Australian passionate about their heritage. You will make lifelong friends, immerse yourself in your heritage, and have an amazing time exploring Greece.”

The GCM aims to offer this program again in 2024, with applications open to Greek-Australian young adults (18 -24) across Australia. The GCM is currently in the process of reconnecting with the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs to re-confirm their support in the 2024 Greek Summer Camp Program.

To join the 2024 Greek Summer Camp mailing list, please email to be notified when applications open.