A Victoria University graduate who brings joy to children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses through ‘adventure therapy’ was presented with the University’s outstanding alumni service award for 2014.
Tim Marchinton of Mount Martha is founder and director of Purple Soup, a unique not-for-profit organisation that offers challenging adventure camps and day programs to children affected by serious illness and their families.
Tim created Purple Soup in 2002 after working in adventure therapy camps overseas. He realised there were more than 75,000 chronically-ill and disabled Australian children who were only partly being treated each year because doctors looked after just their physical needs.
Purple Soup’s programs are designed to build self-esteem, trust and courage in a fun and supportive environment through activities such as adapted high-rope climbing, jet-boating, and themed family camps. It is now a leader in the field in Australia, and has delivered adventures in more than 40 countries around the world.
Tim set up Purple Soup while doing a Bachelor of Recreation Management at Victoria University, which he completed in 2007 after a decade of study.
While Purple Soup has been recognised internationally for its creativity and programming excellence, Tim said being acknowledged as an outstanding graduate at VU’s annual Alumni Awards was one of the best honours he’d ever received.
“I was never the best student which is evident because it took me ten years to complete a three-year program,” he said. “But my teachers and the University provided unconditional support and believed in what I was doing.”
Purple Soup’s clients include Epilepsy Action Australia, OZED Ectodermal Dysplasia, Haemophilia Foundation Australia, and Crohn's and Colitis Australia.
Tim not only designs the programs, but has also trained 35 activity facilitators and leaders to share his infectious passion for working with seriously ill or disabled children and their carers.