>>The 2021 Family Retreat will be virtual! Join us for Camp FantasTIC on Saturday, June 12! <<

“The retreat weekend is a way to gain further knowledge and offer support to our son with TS. It is a way for us to gain support in our journey. The retreat is a nice way to connect with families in a relaxed atmosphere while allowing our children to be who they are—not worrying that they will be judged or critiqued.”


Since 2004, NJCTS has welcomed families to enjoy some time away from it all at the NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend at YMCA Camp Bernie in beautiful Hunterdon County. The weekend allows children and their families to meet others with Tourette Syndrome (TS), learn more about their diagnosis, and engage with peer mentors in a fun, safe environment.

Kids enjoy canoeing, swimming, wall climbing, arts & crafts, participating in a talent show, rekindling old friendships, and cultivating new ones. Parents join in many activities with their children but also connect with other parents and share their stories. Powerful workshops provide a safe place for both youth and parents to ask questions about TS and learn from peer mentors.

Bernie Buddies: During their time at Camp Bernie, families are assigned to a group, usually 4-5 families per group.  A Bernie Buddy is a Youth Advocate that is assigned to one of those groups to engage with the families, and to help the kids feel comfortable during the daily activities.  Additionally, throughout the weekend we have several information sessions for the parents.  So that both parents can attend the sessions, the Bernie Buddies are tasked with managing the kids during that time.  We’ve seen some great connections and friendships made because of this and we are happy to continue to program.  It is a wonderful experience for both the families as well as the Youth Advocates.

The NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend is popularly known as “the best weekend of the year” to the many families who attend looking for camaraderie, a relaxing getaway from the stress of everyday life, and a chance to learn more about TS and self-advocacy.

The weekend also introduces families to the programs and services made available through NJCTS’ partnerships and collaborations.

Scholarship Opportunity: Please email


2019 Photo Gallery

2018 Photo Gallery

Read more about Family Retreat Weekend on our Parents blog and our Teens blog

All material © 2020, NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome