This year Camp Twitch heading out to the Blue Skies Conference Centre in Kaiapoi – just 20 minutes from the Christchurch Airport.
We had over 100 campers from throughout New Zealand attend as well as a number of presenters and ‘special guests’ who came along to be part of the magic of camp.
One of the visits that resonated the most with the young people was when a policeman and forensic team arrived to help solve a mock ‘crime’. The young people were involved hands-on and got to learn how to fingerprint and look for clues to reveal the ‘criminal’. What made the visit extra special was that at the end of the exercise Sgt Andrew Norton told the participants that he too has Tourette Syndrome and that the disorder shouldn’t stop you from following your dreams.
Our amazing sponsors HELL Pizza visited on the fourth day of camp to teach the young people how to make their own pizzas and how to make monster faces from pizza dough. The kids loved that experience and then to top it off a great day the owner, general manager and marketing manager of HELL Pizza got into costume for the Zombie Disco that was part of the last night of camp send-off. That wasn’t all that was instore for the campers however – we were treated to the most amazing, 12-minute fireworks display that left the children and parents in awe.
A special thanks also needs to go to Lauren Smith who is not only a board member but lives with Tourette Syndrome herself. Lauren is a registered psychologist and held a workshop on “Anxiety: How to recognise and manage the symptoms” for parents and adults. Lauren knows first-hand how crippling anxiety can be and her personal and expert insight was very much appreciated by those who attended.
Donate: Here at the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand we don’t like children or young people missing 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
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Sponsor: Each year we like to commemorate Camp Twitch with an one-off t-shirt, cap and goodie bag for the individual living with Tourette Syndrome; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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 contented bunch of campers that night.
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.
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.
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.
Camp Twitch 2016 was made possible thanks to HELL Pizza, the Harcourts Foundation, Kevin Deane Real Estate, Static Communicate, Mercury Energy, various Rotary Clubs of New Zealand and an army of fantastic volunteers.