On Friday 20 July Team Brainwave travelled to Point Wolstoncroft in Gwandalan, for Camp Brainwave New South Wales. The idea behind Camp Brainwave is to give our wonderful families a break from their day to day routines, albeit just for the weekend.
Each time we run Camp Brainwave, we get to know our families and their challenges and have the privilege of seeing first-hand the value of bringing people together through shared circumstances. This weekend helps to build vital support networks that we know will last well beyond the weekend.
Our latest Camp Brainwave was a wonderful success. The largest Camp Brainwave to date, we had thirteen families from across New South Wales join Brainwave for a two-and-a-half-day adventure packed weekend. Meeting for the first time on Friday night, families were divided into activity groups and joined in a series of entertaining ice-breaker games. It was a delight to see everyone so excited to meet each other, so eager and open to playing different games to break the ice and set the tone for a great weekend.
On Saturday, following a hearty cook-up for breakfast, families rotated between canoeing, the giant swing, archery, tunnels and rock climbing. There is nothing we love more at Brainwave than the look of absolute joy on the faces of children as they experience these physically challenging activities. They beam with pride at their achievements, this is shared by their parents who watch with amazement from the sidelines. It is genuinely a heart-warming moment and unique opportunity that Camp Brainwave gives these willing families.
According to Brainwave mum Rachel, ‘We hopped in the car to leave Camp Brainwave on Sunday, and I felt like crying. All my emotions of an amazing weekend and not wanting to leave this wonderful experience. This camp I was able to watch team work & friendships grow. I watched so many kids step out of their comfort zone and do incredible things. That made them smile, scream and laugh!”
Creating connections and sharing stories is an important part of Camp Brainwave—reducing social isolation is central to Brainwave’s work around providing meaningful support to children and their families impacted by neurological conditions. After a full day of activities, parents also had the opportunity to have some child free time socialising with the parents during ‘happy hour’ to enjoy cheese, nibbles and a glass of wine. Parents enjoy this time as it is an opportunity to share their heart felt stories and experiences with other parents that are going through a similar journey.
The children were entertained by our dedicated and fun-loving community volunteers Richard, Laura and Jorge as well as our dedicated and caring corporate volunteers from Ferrero and QBE. Without these exceptional individuals camp would not have been such an outstanding success.
The Sydney Puppet Theatre also surprised the children with a puppet show called “Oh Rats!”. The two actor/puppeteers created a fantastic interaction of puppets and magic. This high energy performance took the kids to journey of mad, comic events. It was pure puppetry fun and adults received just as much a kick out of it as the kids.
The camp fire is always a weekend highlight and this year it was no exception. Seated in an amphitheatre complete with a stage and lighting, families were invited to perform pre-prepared skits. Everyone did an amazing job, there was lots of laughter and frivolity.
As we know all great things must come to an end and Sunday afternoon Camp Brainwave New South Wales for 2018 came to a close. At our farewell ceremony, all children received a camp participation pack that included a certificate of participation, Ferrero chocolates and their ‘fuzzy bags’ that were filled with inspirational and personal messages from co-campers collected over the course of the weekend.
There are many elements that make Camp Brainwave the successful event that it is! Our inspiring families and their positivity is key to it’s success, as are the generous staff and volunteers who lead the programs with a can-do-attitude and powerful energy.
For the 2nd year running, ANCON, builder of residential homes, sponsored Camp Brainwave NSW. Our sincere thanks go to Tony and Jason from ANCON, without their support Camp Brainwave would not be possible.