The Magic of Camp Twitch
Camp Twitch is an annual event hosted by the Tourette's Association of New Zealand to provide those living with Tourette Syndrome the opportunity to meet others just like them, often for the first time, in a safe and supportive environment.
Camp Twitch, October 2nd to 6th, 2017
This year Camp Twitch is heading out to the Blue Skies Conference Centre in Kaiapoi – just 20 minutes from the Christchurch Airport.
The venue is just perfect for adventure and developing friendships with lots of activities on offer for the children and young people living with Tourette Syndrome; as well as for providing educational workshops for adults and parents.
“I hardly ever see my son smile and for the last four days he hasn’t stopped smiling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” – LeighAnne, attendee at Camp Twitch 2016.
Subscription paying members of the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand are encouraged to register their interest now in attending Camp Twitch 2017 because numbers are limited to 120 and there is always a waiting list. There is no obligation to attend if your circumstances change.
There is a small cost involved for the individual with Tourette Syndrome (and if aged under 18 a caregiver also) to attend Camp Twitch.
We also realise that living with Tourette Syndrome impacts on parents, caregivers and siblings too and we welcome additional family members to attend. Additional guests are however responsible for the full cost of accommodation and catering ($310 per person for five days and four nights). We are happy to arrange an instalment plan to cover these expenses.
More information about Camp Twitch will be updated on this site, our Facebook page and in our e-newsletter.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Donate: Here at the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand we don’t like for children and young people to miss out on the opportunity to attend Camp Twitch because of financial constraints. So each year we fundraise to allow a handful of families to attend camp free of charge. If you are able to help us by making a donation, no matter how small, then please visit our Give-A-Little page
Sponsor: Each year we like to commemorate Camp Twitch with an one-off t-shirt, cap and goodie bag for the individual living with Camp Twitch; and to provide a goodie bag for siblings who attend also. If you are able to donate an item for the goodie bags, or perhaps sponsor a t-shirt or cap then please contact Robyn to discuss a sponsorship arrangement either by calling (03) 940-9420 or email email@example.com
Camp Twitch 2016
Camp Twitch 2016 in Rotorua was an action packed four days of fun, friendship and the odd teary eye as attendees challenged themselves to step outside of their comfort zone by taking on some of the best adventure activities that Rotorua has to offer.
On our first day at camp
We were welcomed with a powhiri at the Rotorua Civic Offices followed by a relaxing afternoon of catching up with familiar faces and meeting new campers. The dynamic duo of Anna and Jaz had plenty of activities to keep the children entertained while the parents had a chance to chat among themselves.
Day Two was a day to remember
Anna and Jaz again entertained the kids and young people with games and activities while Dr Rupert Bird and his colleagues from the Tauranga Hospital spoke to the parents and adults about the success he and one of our adults were having using medicinal cannabis as a treatment for tic management.
“Today was the best day of my life!” – Blake, age 9, after making pizza
We had only just finished morning tea when the owners and two staff members from Hell Pizza turned up in their pizza making caravan to teach all of the children, young adults and their siblings how to make pizza. Not only did the kids get to create their own masterpieces but they also received a cap and a t-shirt for taking part. The parents weren’t forgotten either – the Hell crew provided us with lunch too!
To burn off some of the calories from eating way too much pizza, most families headed down to the Rotorua Aquatic Centre for a splash in the pools. Once back at camp the Hell Pizza crew then refuelled everyone with a selection of their starters, gourmet pizzas and gelato at dinner time. We were a contended bunch of campers that night.
Day Three was wet and most definitely wild
We started off first thing in the morning for Skyline Rotorua where almost all of the campers tried out the luge (at least once, some two or three times) and those with a bit more of an adventurous spirit also tried out the zip-line. Then it was off to Agroventures in the pouring rain to try out their adventure activities.
Thankfully there was a range of activities to choose from depending on your adrenaline levels. The jet boat and free-fall were popular choices while the more daring (crazy perhaps) swung from dizzying heights on the Swoop Super Swing – definitely not for the faint hearted.
After drying off and having lunch it was then time for the 1st World Championship OlympTICS – a tribute to the athletes that we had all seen compete in Rio. Groups raced each other in the likes of swimming and equestrian events (not quite as simple as one would think) and competed for points in the Gumboot Throw, Mini Golf among other things. Without a doubt the highlight for most seemed to be the blind eating challenge, unless of course they got stuck eating frozen vegetables or cold baked beans.
“What an amazing time we have all had seeing the kids smiling, laughing and belonging. Thank you so much for creating a place where our little ones, teenagers and adults can just be” – Taanaya, mum to Lily, age 11
We spent our last night at camp being entertained by some of our talented children, young people and adults. The show started with a lot of laughs as Chase M performed his magic tricks and it was bought to a close by the talented duo of Renee H and Ethan D.P. singing and playing guitar respectively to the original song “You can’t hold me down” written by Ethan. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Day Four was a whirlwind of cleaning
Packing and a lot of goodbyes to many new friends. While it was sad to leave it was also heartwarming to see so many smiling and confident children heading back home to proudly announce to the world that they ‘tic loud and they tic proud’. There is no better measure of success than that.
What is Camp Twitch?
Camp Twitch is a four-day event that celebrates what makes those with Tourette’s tic; an event that offers friendship and support to those living with Tourette Syndrome and to those who care for, and live with, someone with Tourette’s.
The inaugural Camp Twitch was held in Hanmer Springs in 2014 and was attended by a group of 97 people from around the country. In 2016 we welcomed 109 people to Rotorua, a mix of campers from 2014 and a large number of first time attendees.
The magic of Camp Twitch is that it provides everyone the chance to just relax, to be themselves and not need to fear being judged. For those who have never met someone else with Tourette’s before learning that they aren’t along and that there are people who really do understand them is a life changing experience.