Despite their diverse ages and backgrounds, Melissa MacCulloch, Patrina Strike and Kye Windschuttel share an unbreakable bond.
They are Legacy children - those who have lost a family member who has fought in a war.
The three are among 21 young people aged from 11 to their early 20s who have travelled from as far as Cairns to attend this year's Legacy camp at Mt Keira Girl Guide Camp.
Melissa, 22, has been coming back to Mt Keira every January for more than 10 years now, after her grandfather died and left her without a guardian.
"It's a massive bonding experience because we get to share heaps of different experiences over 10 days and we form lifelong friendships," she said.
Now a mentor to younger children like Kye, from Holsworthy, whose late grandfather served in the Gulf War, Melissa said the shared loss made them extremely close.
"We all know that we have gone through the same thing, so we have this extra special bond and we are always here to talk to each other," she said.
The kids will take in many Illawarra sights, go sailing in Sydney and visit the war memorial in Canberra.
Wollongong-based camp co-ordinator Pam Bowmaker, a war widow herself, said there would always be a need for the supportive role Legacy plays in the lives of children.
"We all get so much out of these camps, because the children can come to us - we're not counsellors or anything but we do have these shared experiences," she said.