On Friday 25 August, 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 great success. Twelve families from New South Wales joined 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. The stand out moment was watching mums and dads getting their faces painted with vegemite! Another favourite was the ‘shoe challenge’. Teams were challenged to build the tallest stack of smelly shoes…nothing like stinky feet and a collapsing shoe tower to break the ice and set the tone for a great weekend ahead.
The next day, following a hearty cook-up for breakfast, families rotated between canoeing, 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 and delight 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 participants.
According to Brainwave mum, Rachel, “for us as parents, this camp means the world. We watch our kids smile, laugh and do things they would never normally do. We connected with so many families and have plans to catch up soon”.
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 families impacted by neurological conditions. After a full day of activities, parents had the opportunity to enjoy some child free time socialising with the other parents over a game of pe̒tanque. The children were entertained by our dedicated and fun-loving community volunteers Richard, Laura and Jorge and Ferrero volunteers, Diana, Matthew, Isobel and Jonna. The energetic campers were engaged in a high stakes soccer match while the tired campers watched a movie.
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 entertainment including a performance by Laurence, Brainwave’s Program Manager and the volunteers. While we don’t wish to dampen their spirits, rumour has it, they’re lucky they all have day jobs…!!
As we know, all good things must come to an end and Sunday afternoon meant the close of Camp Brainwave New South Wales for 2017. At the farewell ceremony, all children received a camp participation pack that includes a certificate, Ferrero chocolates and collected their ‘fuzzy bags’ that are filled with beautiful 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 this success—as are the generous staff and volunteers who lead the programs with a can-do-attitude and enough energy to light up a city. This year, Camp Brainwave was made possible by a generous donation received from Tony and Jason Commisso from ANCON Development Group at the Brainwave Sydney Fundraising Gala in May. We extend our sincere thanks to each and every one of you for your involvement and for ensuring Camp Brainwave was such a great success.