According to studies, an average person makes in the region of 35,000 choices on a daily basis. Our choice of what to have for breakfast, when to read a book, check social media. What we choose to do when we finish school, study more, get a job, volunteer? Choosing what to do in one’s free time – movies, travel, socialising. Everyone has that freedom to make decisions for the future; to be independent.
But what if society perceived your ability as having to rely on others; or that because of your circumstances you would be less able to participate in society?
Stellar Experiences is the brainchild of Bronte Hendricks and Luke Muttdon; with both having experiences and qualifications in inclusive education, disability provision and health – the perfect combination for an organisation with big goals.
“Our main goal is to provide endless opportunities for young people with disabilities to access all aspects of their community.” says Bronte. “We want to break down the perceived barriers of what people with disabilities cannot do and empower them to be independent; and actively engage in each and every part of the life they choose, not what society dictates or believes they are capable of.”
And so Stellar Experiences is first and foremost a social, recreational and travel company. It’s secondary that these opportunities are for young adults with mild to moderate disabilities and mental health conditions.
Over the past few months, the pair have been breaking down barriers, facilitating activities that are based around the interests of the young people; whether that’s going to sports games, attending events or holidays. They also have exciting itineraries planned for 2020, as Stellar Experiences will be travelling to Queenstown, The Pacific Islands, USA and Europe!
Their most memorable experience so far has been their first overnight, interstate trip to Melbourne for the weekend. Bronte explains that everyone got along well and had an amazing time. Their guests were not only appreciative and thankful for the experience, but with so many referring it to as “the best weekend of their life,” it reinforced to the Stellar Experiences team they are genuinely making a difference to their guests’ lives.
But it is also the lifelong friendships that are being formed; the instant connections, the smiles and sense of inclusiveness and community that solidifies Luke and Bronte’s goal for their organisation. The notion that their unique and tailored experiences promotes this.
“It makes us feel so fulfilled to see how happy they are to be making connections. It also motivates Luke and I to continue to provide experiences for more and more young people, so we can help them achieve the same sense of belonging,” says Bronte. “It’s honestly so rewarding – we have a group message and all our guests chat to one another constantly. Every single morning, they say, ” Good morning, my Stellar Family” and likewise at night-time before they go to bed. I guess that speaks for itself. They belong, they have that friendship group now that they always deserved!!”
Their commitment to helping young people have normal teenage experiences extends way beyond their social circle. Luke and Bronte have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and positivity from both their guests and their families. Since they are of a similar age to the young people, their experiences are perceived as a more of being out with friends. “We are providing experiences that are age-appropriate; activities that they see other young people their age doing but may not have had the opportunity to do before, such as attending a music festival!”