The Atlantic team of Muscular Dystrophy Canada hosted the 3rd Atlantic Family Retreat in the Fall of 2015 at the wonderful Camp Brigadoon in Aylesford Lake, NS. Lawton’s Home Health was our presenting sponsor and their staff were active on site for the weekend event.
Family time and peer support opportunities were at the core of the activities chosen for the weekend. Families enjoyed favourite outdoor pursuits such as the “Big Canoe”, fishing dockside, and camp fires each night.
We widened the scope of the weekend to include all families and individuals who are interested in experiencing a camp atmosphere. Families attended who had a child with a neuromuscular disorder as well as those with a parent who had a neuromuscular disorder.
We are looking forward to the next Family Retreat in the Summer of 2017.
Information about Camp Brigadoon can be found at brigadoonvillage.org.
ATLANTIC CANADA FAMILY RETREAT HELD
The Family Retreat, held at Camp Brigadoon in Nova Scotia on September 27-29 2013, was a resounding success. 15 families along with staff and volunteers (approximately 65 individuals) had a wonderful time enjoying the many activities and scenic atmosphere that Camp Brigadoon provides.
This accessible camp is located on a beautiful lake in the Annapolis Valley; wide gravel paths and buildings with ramps, extra wide doorways, and open spaces accommodate people with disabilities. The camp chef did his best to ensure that everyone’s dietary concerns were addressed, while the healthy eating policy meant there were lots of fresh fruit and vegetables included in meals.
This may sound like something out of a brochure, but Camp Brigadoon is truly an idyllic place. We had wonderful sunny weather, so that all the planned outdoor activities could take place. The weekend kicked off with a “Polar Dip” in the frosty lake, bright and early on Saturday morning. We had a few troopers who were keen and others who just had to witness their enthusiasm. When people were asked what they enjoyed most, fishing was the top activity for the children, along with archery and the “big canoe”” which could accommodate 14 people. The big canoe is particularly noteworthy, since thanks to the help of a fire fighter volunteer, Steve Richardson, along with several parents, children who had never been out on the water of a lake were able to experience the thrill of canoeing after being lifted out of their wheelchairs and helped into the boat. There was also family game time, and evenings around the outdoor fire, with a secret surprise of fireworks, again courtesy of Steve Richardson and one of the parents.
Two of our youth leaders shared their experience of making the transition to adulthood, which was well received by younger family members, while Tom Curry had everyone playing along with him in his music therapy session. The parents appreciated sessions geared to them. Dr. Katie Manders delved into the family dynamics of dealing with neuromuscular disorders and the impacts on siblings. Colin Hood took us through the importance of proper respiratory care. This session was a revelation to many and provided an opportunity to distribute our new Respiratory Care Guide that was recently launched. Both of these sessions provided much food for thought and set the stage for continued sharing throughout the weekend.
Another note worthy event was the arrival of the Kentville Fire Department. Special thanks go to the fireman who came with a fire truck. The children and parents alike enjoyed exploring the many features of the fire truck.
Most of all, participants enjoyed the chance to connect with other parents, families and youth: to share their emotions and challenges and to simply experience things in the company of others who understand what they are going through. A huge shout out goes to Camp Brigadoon staff for making our weekend so memorable!! It is safe to say that special bonds were made and Muscular Dystrophy Canada was so pleased to provide that opportunity.