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7 Sep 16


by Dorothy Tortell, Social Worker

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The Sixth Annual Young People’s Camp for young people from families with Huntington's Disease was organized by the Huntington's Disease Association (Wellington) Inc., from 9 to 15 April 1999. The Camp was held at the Waikanae Christian Holiday Park with the first 2 days reserved for senior campers aged 18 - 25 and a further 5 days for the younger campers, the youngest of which was 12 years old.

The Camp’s Objectives were for the young people .....

  • to meet others from similar Huntington's background and circumstances;
  • to share information and experiences about Huntington's Disease;
  • to support each other and by doing so, develop a mutual support network;
  • to have fun.

A total of 33 participants attended the camp. Of these, 29 campers had participated in previous camps and 4 were participating for the first time. The campers came from 11 towns/cities throughout New Zealand as follows -

Hamilton   1            Wellington   6         Tuaranga   4               Nelson     6                        Napier     4              Blenheim    1          Wanganui    2              Christchurch     4        Palmerston North     1                            Invercargill     3            Featherston   1

As in previous years, the Camp comprised a mixture of discussion sessions (including Huntington’s question and answer sessions), indoor activities, and outdoor physical activities. The discussion sessions included coping with loss and with change, managing family situations, the pros and cons of Huntington’s predictive testing, and prenatal testing. Other indoor activities included scarf painting, affirmation posters, a concert and a mixture of poetry, prose and painting, all illustrating what Huntington’s meant to them. Outdoor activities were of a physical nature and aimed to present participants with challenges, opportunities to succeed, gain confidence, work in teams and mutual support situations. The activities organized this year included white-water rafting, "big swing" high ropes, flying fox and 4-wheel motor cycle.

The Camp was a great success and all the objectives were met. Campers managed to meet other young people in the same situation and share information on how they coped. They spent time with other people who understood what they were going through and gained support from people in the "same boat". They renewed friendships from previous Camps and made new friendships, overcame feelings of isolation and provided support and encouragement to one another. They left the Camp more confident and with an increased knowledge of Huntington's Disease and returned home more resilient and with a better understanding of their family member with HD. They made lasting friendships and strengthened the support network which continues to operate between camps and should continue for many years to come.

The Association is deeply grateful to all those who helped make this Camp possible. The Masonic Lodges through out New Zealand, the Kiwanis, and the NZ Lotteries Grants Board provided generous financial support. Many others gave us moral support, and a number of professionals and volunteers gave up their time to help at the Camp.

Dorothy Tortell
Social Worker

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Appreciation and thanks must go to Judy Lyon for compiling the wealth of information available
on this site, and to Graham Taylor for maintaining the original site for so long.

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