Children's Camp 2020
The 2020 Arthritis New Zealand Children’s Camp was a roaring success yet again! Camp took place from Friday 28 February to Sunday 1 March in Matamata.
The children were encouraged to discuss their challenges of living with arthritis and shared their solutions in support group sessions. In these groups, they found friends and peers who have a similar diagnosis and are walking the same path.
The children were full of smiles as they took part in all of the fun outdoor activities, including archery, wall climbing, big water slide, swimming, building river rafts and then racing them down the stream, kayaking, Burma trail, flying fox, flying kiwi, mini-golf, and top town. The youth leaders did a panel discussion in which they shared what it’s been like to grow up with arthritis, and what it’s like to be a teenager with arthritis, to the camp parents, so that they might have a better understanding of what their children are going through or might go through later on.
While the children had the time of their lives, parents had dedicated time with three members of the National Paediatric Rheumatology Team. They were specialist physiotherapist Haeley Mato, clinical nurse specialist Rosalie Olding, and paediatric rheumatologist Priscilla Campbell-Stokes.
This year’s camp was the tenth consecutive Children’s Camp and saw camp co-ordinator Francesca Holloway get on a kayak as a signal to the end of her ten-year tenure as a camp co-ordinator as she steps back and hands camp over to another team within Arthritis New Zealand.
“Thank you so much Arthritis NZ for providing such a wonderful and positive experience for our children (and us parents),” – parent from camp.
Help us make a difference for the 700,000 + affected by arthritis in New Zealand. To donate towards the costs of Children’s Camp, click here to go to our Donate page.
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What is Children’s Camp?
Each year in late February or early March, about 30 children, their caregivers, and siblings attend the Arthritis New Zealand camp for children with JIA and other rheumatological conditions – a weekend filled with fun and information. The camp provides a safe environment for activities like abseiling, flying fox, archery, raft building, kayaking, or they can relax by soaking in the hot pool.
Who can come to Children’s Camp?
The camp is for children who have been referred from a paediatric rheumatologist and recently diagnosed with a rheumatological condition.
Health professionals attend to answer parents’ questions, and several young people return every year as leaders and to share their own experience of living with a rheumatological condition.
What is the benefit of attending Children’s Camp?
Families often find camp a considerable boost as they discover they’re not the only ones living with these conditions. It’s a chance to make friends with others who understand what they’re going through. “I’m not alone anymore,” is a common response.