Families that play together

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Katherine Mulheron (author)

Location(s): HMAS Cerberus, Victoria

Defence member Lieutenant Vishal Bhakoo and his daughter Ciana and partner Hawazin are enjoying an afternoon jumping on trampolines at Gravity Zone in Seaford, Victoria.  An event organized by Defence Community Organisation. (photo: )
Defence member Lieutenant Vishal Bhakoo and his daughter Ciana and partner Hawazin are enjoying an afternoon jumping on trampolines at Gravity Zone in Seaford, Victoria. An event organized by Defence Community Organisation.

Defence families on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, celebrated National Families Week by packing several hours with non-stop jumping, climbing and sneaky battles – the laser tag sort of course. 
 
This years theme of 'Stronger Families, Stronger Communities', encourages families to spend time together, reach out to extended family and take part in fun activities in their community. Defence supports the week by recognising the importance families play in supporting serving members as they serve Australia.
 
More than 100 excited children, mums and dads converged on the local 'Gravity Zone' which offers a range of trampolining and agility activities, as well as laser tag for those wanting to test their tactical combat skills. 
 
Air Force Sergeant Adrian Smith, posted to the HMAS Cerberus Technical Training Facility as an instructor, said he and his family really enjoyed the activity and definitely planned on going again.  
 
“My son is four and my daughter is just 20 months so they’re a little young to realise the pressures on Defence families, but my wife does and has gone through those difficult times of being posted with very little notice and her family and local support networks help a great deal,” he said. 
 
“I think family support is the highest priority for any Defence member and these events are a fantastic way for families to create support networks."
 
Lieutenant Vishal Bhakoo who attended with his wife and their three year old daughter, highly recommended family activities hosted by the Defence Community Organisation. 
 
“I’ve never had the opportunity to go to an activity like this before," he said.
 
"My daughter had an amazing time, playing non-stop till the end and we all had a ball; not just the kids, but all the families.
 
“It was great to connect with other families and to build friendships and support networks,” Lieutenant Bhakoo said.
 
As a Defence partner, Hawazin Bhakoo understands the importance of an extensive support network having dealt with moving to new locations and caring for a newborn while her husband was at sea. The Families Week event has created a new network for her and other local families.
 
“I made new friends within our community who actually live close by but whom I’ve never had an opportunity to meet,” Mrs Bhakoo said. 

“The day was fun as well as being really important as you come from different postings and social circles; these events are the key to building your support network.”  

National Families Week is observed by more than a hundred thousand people each year, acknowledging the vital role families play in our society. The Defence Community Organisation is one of hundreds of organisations that host events to help their organisations families to connect with each other and appreciate their unique relationships.