On Friday 12 August, 50 children and their families travelled to Point Wolstoncroft, Gwandalan for Camp Brainwave. The new venue and location surpassed expectations. Set on Lake Macquarie and surrounded by forest and native birds, the setting was ideal.
Friday night icebreaker games were a hoot with a game of pizza delivery mixed in with some very hungry hippos and more. On Saturday activity groups tested their balance canoeing on the waters of Lake Macquarie and then challenged themselves on the high ropes course.
Children of all ages and abilities swung like monkeys on the giant swing and a number of archery enthusiasts almost hit the bull’s eye. But for many, the most fun was navigating through the scary wombat tunnels and performing family acts around the camp fire. Not a dry eye was in sight when Molly, accompanied by her father Jason on the flute, sang the national anthem. Of course, being fed good wholesome tucker was an essential component and the chefs did not disappoint.
On the whole a lot of fun was had by all. For the Thomas family, camp represented an opportunity to connect with families and talk through their challenges. At the age of two and a half their son Flynn had a stroke which rendered him incapable of speech and affected his balance, hearing and touch sensation. Eight months later this scenario played out once again. For parents Kim and Chris, the experience was life changing causing financial, social and emotional upheaval. According to mum Kim, “to meet other families and for Ethan, Flynn’s brother, to be given the attention he needs, was equally important”. Kim explains, “Camp Brainwave gives Ethan and Flynn the opportunity to feel special. It is encouraging and non-judgemental – which is what we are looking for”.
A special thank you to our community and corporate volunteers Richard, Laura, Jorge, Stephanie, Amelia and Yineng. Their contribution to camp was invaluable. The volunteers were allocated activity groups and throughout the course of the weekend interacted and supported families. According to Richard, “volunteering is a wonderful way to support others and make a difference to their lives; this in return brings amazing happiness to mine”.
For Programs Manager Laurence Hennessy, “seeing our families interact and have fun regardless of age or ability is all I can ask for. It is a pleasure and an honour to be in their company and to provide these opportunities”.
Camp Brainwave 2016 would not have been possible without the financial support of generous donors who attended the Brainwave Fundraising Gala in Sydney earlier this year.