Cottage by the Sea – where young people matter

The challenge

Cottage by the Sea was established in Queenscliff Victoria in 1890. Its mission is to enhance the lives of young people in need by providing inspiration, fun and opportunity within a holiday environment. There are four tailored programs: (1) The Take a Break Program (young people aged 8-12 years); (2) The REEF program (young people transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7); (3) The Mentor Program (young people 13 to 18 years); and (4) The National Program in partnership with the Cathy Freeman Foundational and their Horizons Program.

The organisation has enlisted Deakin researchers to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of the Cottage by the Sea’s Programs on the lives of the young people who attend these camps.

Project overview

The aim of this research project is to investigate the impact of three of the four programs at Cottage by the Sea on young people’s aspirations and wellbeing. This mixed methods study uses surveys, interviews, and observations to understand young people’s views of the impact of the Cottage by the Sea on their lives. The study will also explore long-term impact by collecting stories from past attendees of the camps as they reflect and look back on their times at the Cottage by the Sea.


The research will help explain how certain aspects of the programs work together to achieve its goals and to highlight both areas of strength and those that need enhancement. It will also contribute more generally to knowledge and practice related to supporting young people from vulnerable communities and addressing persistent social challenges associated with growing up in communities with high levels of social and economic stressors.

The research project is part of a larger program of research: Cottage by the Sea – Where Young People Matter 

Project report

Research snapshot

Project team


Cottage by the Sea, Queenscliff




More information

Cottage by the Sea – website


young people, disadvantaged, vulnerable young people, leadership, mentoring