THE ANNUAL YOUNG PEOPLES CAMP - JANUARY 2002
by Wendy Burne
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annual Young Peoples Camp organized by the Huntingtons Disease Association
(Wellington) was held from 1 - 6 January at the
Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (OPC). The
Centre is situated on the western side of Tongariro National Park in the Central Plateau
of the North Island. This was a wonderful
venue to hold such a Camp with the location so close to the three volcanoes, Ruapehu,
Ngauruhoe and Tongariro all of which provided a beautiful and serene backdrop to very good
accommodation facilities and endless possibilities of exciting outdoor activities.
of twelve young people, eight of whom had attended previous Camps, joined us at the OPC. Participants came from, Christchurch, Hokitika,
Wellington, Wairarapa, Wanganui Taupo, Napier, with ages ranging from 12 to 24 years old. In spite of the range in ages, everyone got
on so well and after the first few days of bonding with each other became a very
The Camps 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.
As in previous years, there was a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities and discussion
sessions on all aspects of Huntingtons Disease.
The participants had an opportunity to take up the challenges of a high rope
course, making their own raft and then sailing it down the Tongariro River, and climbing
up to the snow on Mount Ruapehu. The snow was more inviting than the further walk to the Crater lake, as several participants had not been
in a decent amount of snow before . We designed a banner for use at the next HD conference, some excellent art work is to be seen
in this along with a visual display of participants feelings and thoughts relating to HD.
The Association is deeply grateful to the following who provided generous financial support
which helped to make this Camp possible :
Each evening the group had discussions on various aspects of Huntingtons Disease. Many
young people were very well informed about the basics of HD due to education and sharing
at other camps and reading the Wellington Association publication Huntingtons and Me - A guide for young
people. (A book I could have done with when I learned about HD in the family!) The
group shared through talking, drawing, sculpture, and writing how HD has affected them as
they have been growing up. We also talked about genetic testing and the young
peoples feelings on how they could approach the future positively. Much support and
education also took place in small informal groups as people supported each other in their
The Camp was a great success and all the objectives were met.
Campers met other young people in the same situation and shared information
on Huntingtons Disease. They formed
part of a group where those around them understood what they were going through and
provided mutual support. They overcame
feelings of isolation and left the Camp more confident and with an increased knowledge of
Huntington's Disease. They returned
home more resilient and with a better understanding of their family member with HD. The support network which operates between Camps
- City of Christchurch Triathlon
- Grand Lodge of New Zealand Freemasons
- Hawkes Bay Support Group
- New Zealand Community Trust/Ten Pin Bowling Petone
My thanks to the staff at the OPC who provided an exciting and safe programme with great
I appreciated support and energy from Mark Chappell my co-facilitator. I enjoyed working
with Mark and feel we fulfilled a complimentary role providing a safe and fun environment
for the participants. Thanks also to his family who made it possible for him to attend the Camp.
My thanks to all the Campers who got into the spirit of the Camp and who participated fully and
sincerely in all the activities. I really
enjoyed seeing those of you I have shared camps with before and meeting new people.
Having had 2 years off from being a helper at camp it was a challenge to come back without
Dorothy being there and being a facilitator. She was not far away though as I had
instructions to phone often and tell her how we were going. I did use a bit of her wisdom
when I felt unsure about what I was doing. With her usual supportive attitude she gave
some pointers and said we were doing fine!
It was excellent to have the young peoples book to refer to in order to give well-worded
answers to questions. My background is in nursing and I like to have a text to refer to.
As usual I stayed away from the rafting! I did manage a go on the rock climbing wall and the walk
up the mountain. It was great seeing the group come back to the lodge after having so much
fun Mountain biking. Mark looked much the expert there with his cycling top and shorts
also the real Cyclists shoes!
Thanks to the Association for inviting me to have a part in the camp, all in all I had fun. I
enjoyed learning more from the young people and sharing some of my own relevant
experiences with individuals and the formal groups. I would be happy to be involved again.