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PWSA Family Camp, Taupo – Feb/March 2020

Just a couple of weeks before our world changed momentously with the impact of Covid-19, we were able to enjoy a lovely, sunny weekend together on the alluring shores of Lake Taupo.

It was a perfect site for our family camp with plenty of green space for the kids to explore and multiple meeting rooms to suit all our group needs. The accommodation was comfortable, consisting mainly of small lodges with communal areas, and the activities were spread across the site with some areas enjoying expansive views of the lake. We would like to thank MiCamp Taupo for all their helpfulness and warm hospitality. Special thanks also goes to the chef who prepared an excellent, appropriate menu for us.

We had over 90 people attending our camp this year which is consistent with the record high numbers that attended our previous camp in Auckland, 2018. We all enjoyed seeing familiar faces, but also the opportunity to meet new people. It was fantastic to see such a wide age range at camp too, from an infant with PWS to older adults with PWS, all attending with their families or support workers.

The weekend began with dinner, followed by fun and games on the field, then the excitement of the Burma Trail in the dark for those who dared! On Saturday and Sunday mornings, groups rotated around four campsite activities: rifles, geocaching, team initiatives and kayaking. We are extremely grateful to our parent and family volunteers who led three of these activities for us (Simon Sankey, Matt Robinson, Cloe Vining and Gabriel) – they did a great job!

On Saturday afternoon we held breakout sessions for different groups. Adults with PWS were able to attend our Leadership Workshop where they discussed their ideas about information that should be shared about PWS in training sessions and educational material. They also discussed their leadership role and advised that they would like more involvement in planning and helping for future camps, and to keep in touch with each other more regularly, suggesting ideas for achieving this.  Siblings aged 8 plus were able to attend a workshop led by a facilitator from Parent to Parent’s Sibling Support Programme and we thank them for offering this vital service. The siblings very much appreciated the opportunity to talk in confidence about their specific experiences of living with a brother or sister with PWS. Children and adults not participating in the leadership workshop or sibling programme took part in Rare Disease Day themed colouring, painting and wordsearches. Finally, the mums were able to spend the afternoon enjoying a bit of social time and the dads were last seen heading in the direction of the nearest pub! The afternoon ended with many making good use of the camp waterslide.

Our Annual AGM was held on Saturday evening whilst some opted to play Bingo instead, a camp tradition, and these events were both followed by the eagerly awaited Campfire and Talent Show. Unfortunately, due to the regional fire ban, we couldn’t have an actual campfire, but that didn’t stop us pretending! Thank you to Adam and his dad, Andy Roberts, who enthusiastically led us in animated song. There were numerous entries for the talent show which proved us all to be a multi-talented bunch and the evening concluded with a lively disco.

Thank you to everyone who helped in other ways with serving at meal times, doing dishes, clearing tables and with the final camp clean up. Our camps can’t happen without all our volunteers.

We hope you are all looking forward to the next camp as much as we are and we will see you again there. If you haven’t attended one of our camps before, please take a look through the pictures below and we hope you will consider coming along.