Get Involved To Support Youth At Risk
Sleep Under the Stars is an annual, experiential event renowned for its community spirit and impact in addressing youth homelessness. Held at Hickson Reserve beneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the event brings people of all ages together to participate in teams; corporates, families and young people enjoy a basic meal, experience building cardboard shelters in which to bunker for the night, and hear firsthand from some of the inspirational people for whom homelessness was once, a reality. A reality shared by 1 in 200 Australians (ABS, 2018).
The reward is more than helping to provide shelter, care and support for kids who need it most. Participants also wake up to a beautiful sunrise overlooking Sydney Harbour, a complimentary hot breakfast and new friendships.
We welcome all members of the public – as long as you are willing to get involved and brave the cold!
Who can participate in Sleep Under the Stars?
Anyone and everyone!
We welcome business groups, community groups, groups of friends, groups of competitors.
Families and young people are more than welcome. People under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian over 18 years old.
Areas can be cordoned off for youth groups on request, such as Scouts and Guides.
Why should I get involved? Why is this event so important?
Youth homelessness, in a country such as Australia, is unacceptably prevalent. The overall homeless population is estimated at 116,000 and a whopping 38% of this figure is aged under 25.
At Stepping Stone House, we believe that everybody deserves to be given the greatest chance of building their own life in a safe and secure environment. For more than 20 years, Stepping Stone House has helped over 400 young people to become self-sufficient and educated young adults. Through educational development, adventure programs, community volunteering, mentoring and counselling, we equip young people with the self-care and life skills they need to become independent and succeed in life.
How can I confirm my attendance?
Every participant must be registered online prior to arrival. Unfortunately we cannot accept ‘walk ins’ so please tell your friends and colleagues to sign up HERE prior to the event.
Remember; the earlier you register, the more time you have to fundraise and recruit friends to join you!
Do I need to fundraise?
Yes, there is an expectation that you will fundraise to help Stepping Stone House continue to provide assistance to vulnerable young people. You set the bar as high as you like!
Remember – fundraising is fun! It’s a great excuse to reach out to family and friends to let them know you are participating in Sleep Under the Stars. Your fundraising efforts also help us to spread the word on the issue of youth homelessness. By fundraising, you are joining an important movement. You are saying publicly and proudly that you believe access to safe and stable housing is a fundamental right of kids across the country.
Don’t worry – we’ll give you plenty of tips and advice on fundraising in the lead up to the event.
What is the fundraising target for the 2018 event?
Our goal is to raise over $400,000 to accommodate and support 13 homeless and disadvantaged youth for a year – and we need your help!
That support includes:
• Courses to develop self-belief and confidence to achieve their dreams
• Adventure education to develop resilience and GRIT
• A personal mentor
• Employability skills
• Life skills development
• Case worker support
• Free driving lessons
• Volunteering opportunities
Please continue to visit our homepage for updates on how we are tracking against this target.
How do I get there?
The event is held at Hickson Reserve, The Rocks.
You can arrive by public transport, with the closest train station being Circular Quay.
Overnight cheap meter parking is available on the adjoining Lower Fort Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000.
What time do I need to arrive?
Check in is from 5pm to 9pm on Friday 26th October 2018.
We advise arriving as close to the beginning as possible so you don’t miss out on a good spot to sleep, and so you can share in the community spirit and hear from our powerful speakers and entertainers.
How long does the event go for?
The event runs all night and most people head home by around 7.30am the following morning after breakfast.
What should I bring?
Essential items include ID, a sleeping bag, pillow, ear plugs and the clothes on your back.
Please bring minimal valuables to keep the experience authentic, and because we cannot be liable for loss or damage. If you decide to bring your smartphone or tablet, these can be a great way of recording your experience and sharing on social media to help spread the word.
Please refrain from bringing mattresses and bed rolls (unless your health is at stake!).
You may bring your own food if you have special dietary requirements, however we encourage you to join us for a complimentary, yet basic dinner and BBQ breakfast the following morning.
You can bring a small 2 or 3 person tent for use in the event of torrential and relentless rain. Tents will be pitched in an area at the back. Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority will only allow tents less than 1meter 20cms tall.
This is a dry event. Strictly no alcohol is permitted.
What will be expected of me on the night?
Once you arrive and register, we’ll send you off to your allocated sleeping spot and you can start building your shelter. We encourage you to get to know your neighbours, familiarise yourself with the facilities, and pay special attention to all of our presentations on the night. And may you sleep well!
It’s up to you as to how involved in the Sleep Under the Stars community you become.
Will there be entertainment?
There will be brief formalities on the night and you will also hear from some of the inspirational young people who will share their insights and experiences of homelessness with you. Plus Kyle Sandilands has confirmed he will be joining us and sharing his own perspectives on homelessness.
We have some very talented musicians playing lovely ballads for us.
Then you will be free to enjoy toasted marshmallows around the open fires, a basic dinner from the food truck and a shared community spirit.
Where will I sleep?
Kennards Self Storage and Kennards Hire will provide each participant with 6 large cardboard boxes and 2 large tarps to build a watertight shelter as an individual or with your team.
A panel of judges will determine the best cardboard shelter/fort!
A VIP area will be set aside with the best view of the Opera House for the top 10 fundraising teams and top 50 individual fundraisers. Will you be a lucky participant who wakes up to a million dollar view?!
What other prizes are there?
Prizes will be awarded for the highest fundraisers, best shelters and most engaging social media post.
Are there toilet and shower facilities?
Yes, there are toilets on site, but no shower facilities.
Can I bring alcohol?
Sorry, no alcohol allowed, as this is a family-friendly event.
Will there be security?
There will be a security fence around the whole area during the event. Security guards will be patrolling throughout the night.