Dorothy Tortell - Camp Mother/Social Worker
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On the afternoon of Thursday 23 April 1998 I was
heard to give a big sigh of relief as the Camp was finally over for another year - but it
was relief tinged with a degree of sadness. Relief that it had been such a wonderful and
succesful Camp - the best ever, as most of the campers were heard to say. But with a sense of
sadness that for most of these wonderful young people they wouldnt have the
opportunity to get together again for another twelve months - or so I thought. But
immediately I was to be proven wrong, as a few campers have travelled long distances to
see their friends, while many more have written letters or talked to each other by phone.
What a thrill for us, as one of our objectives when setting up the first Camp was to
encourage the young people to support each other and by doing so, develop a mutual support
network. And we have done that!
Before each Camp, I have so many fears - will enough young people
want to join us; if so, will they all get on; will the weather be kind to us so we can
really enjoy the outdoor activities; will we have enough helpers; will the venue be
suitable; will we be able to fund the camp; will we.....will we.....?? And please, please,
dont let Ann-Marie and David get sick!!! But as always, once the camp is underway
all these fears and concerns fade away and I wonder why did I ever waste my time worrying!
As we begin to plan for next year, I wonder why these camps are
important. A very clear picture comes to me: I see the participants gain knowledge and
share information on HD; I see support and encouragement for one another develop; I see
the young people gain confidence and strength; I see them return to their homes more
resilient and with better understanding of their family member with HD; and I see them
make lasting friendships and most importantly, I see them have FUN! So what more can
we ask for.
And what makes a good Camp - dedicated facilitators and helpers and
a group of wonderful young participants. My sincere thanks to you all. See you next year!