Williams Syndrome Associations Family Camp January 2017. A weekend of fun, education, mutual support and sanity
Every two years the WSA holds a national family camp. This is the primary ‘gathering’ for the group and is eagerly anticipated by the membership. The camps are usually attend by 120 – 180 people.
The next camp is being held in January 2017 at the Keswick Christian Camp in Rotorua.
These camps are far more than just a social get-together:
For people with WS
• This is a chance for people with WS to get together with others who face the same challenges in life and to renew genuine friendships.
• Younger people with WS look up to those older than themselves, and the older ones are eager to fulfil a mentor type role at the camps.
• Information sharing sessions are also held eg relationships and informed consent.
• The adults with WS also enjoy hearing speakers discussing the genetics and/or health issues.
• For parents with newly diagnosed children, these camps are extremely important. It is difficult to fully describe how much the camps provide ‘sanity’ to the mad world they find themselves in.
• The support of others who have been in the same situation
• Learning more about WS and how to work through issues etc (including hearing from international speakers). Health, education relationships, genetics, services available etc are all discussed.
• The ability to relax knowing that your child is in a safe place, surrounded by people who fully accept them (this simply can’t be under-estimated)
• The reassurance of seeing the awesome people with WS and knowing that despite the challenges, there are also positive things to look forward to.
Siblings also gain from the camps. Being able to interact with their peers, they informally support each and share experiences of living with a disabled brother/sister. Sadly, for some this may also be their main opportunity to socialise without being embarrassed of, or having to support, their sibling.
Organising committee and Trustee
Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone. It is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. These often occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.
WS affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States and 200 in New Zealand. Many babies may have life-threatening cardiovascular problems. As they grow, they struggle with things like spatial relations, numbers, and abstract reasoning, which can make daily tasks a challenge.
As adults, most people with WS will need support to live to their fullest potential. As people with WS mature, they often experience intense isolation which can lead to depression. They are extremely sociable and experience the normal need to connect with others; however people with Williams Syndrome often don’t process nuanced social cues and this makes it difficult to form lasting relationships.
2015 Camp on Seven Sharp 13 December 2016
Check out the Seven Sharp coverage of our last camp in 2015.
Lots of fun - and lots of information sharing