Camp Twitch 2019 – A week to remember

Living Springs camp and conference centre on Banks Peninsula always manages to take people’s breath away with its stunning views – and the staff and facilities are equally as fantastic.

We descended on Living Springs on Monday September 30th on a mild spring day. Despite a slight chill in the air there was no stopping the kids, young and old alike, from making the most of the visit from the local volunteer fire crew who turned their hoses on the water slide much to everyone’s delight.

It was an ideal start to what was a fantastic week. As well as the ever-popular madcap games played as part of the OlympTICS (a Tourette’s spin on the games) there was also a pirate-themed escape room challenge; a MasterChef challenge and a ‘Good guys, bad guys’ theme disco to entertain everyone. While the weather was true to form for Canterbury (we had hail, snow, rain and sunshine), and some of our planned outdoor activities had to be cancelled, when we did go outdoors we had a blast. The teenagers spent an afternoon tackling the Initiatives course – a range of outdoor obstacles to navigate as a team; while the younger children went for a visit down to the farm park where they got to see a sheep being sheared as well as go on pony and wagon rides.

A highlight for many at camp was when Sgt Andy Norton from the Christchurch central police station came for a visit. His story resonated not only with the kids but the parents too as he told how he thought that having Tourette’s would prevent him from joining the police. For years he was too afraid to even try to join but eventually decided to take the step – and, as they say, the rest is history. His message was to not let Tourette Syndrome stop you from following your dream. Be proud of who you are and don’t be afraid to tell people about Tourette Syndrome. His visit was made even more exciting for the kids when he allowed them to try on his cap, vest, handcuffs and sit in his police car.

All too soon camp was over and newly formed friends had to say goodbye amid tears and selfies. But all promised to be at camp again in 2020 – once you’ve got the camp bug you’ve got it for life.

A big thank you has to be said to all of those individuals and companies that helped make camp so special for all of those who attended. To Tracy Kennedy and Catherine McHaffie who so generously donated to allow two families to attend; to Mother Earth and Pop ‘n Good popcorn for supplying goodies for the goodie bags; Inner Wheel Orewa/Whangaparoa for donating their fundraising dollars; the Mainland Trust for funding our activities; for Pub Charity for funding our funky camp t-shirts and Youthtown for funding the purchase of ukuleles so that we could have music therapy session. Thanks also to Cambridge Septic Tank Services and Branderson Homes for donating too. To Steve Bone for capture memories of camp for years to come with your amazing photographs and video footage (and being a nice guy on top of talented).

Without the following people camp would be chaos so a big shout out to: Caroline Crosby; Anna Dewhurst and Raewyn McCracken; Hayley Seath, Connor Murdoch and Robyn Martinovich; the
teenagers who step up to mentor the younger children; the parents who lent a hand with cleaning up and supervising games and activities – you are all legends.

Bring on Camp Twitch 2020!
Robyn Twemlow