Well-known sports radio personality Craig Carton has Tourette Syndrome (TS) – an inherited, misdiagnosed, misunderstood neurological disorder characterized by tics. Two of his children have TS, as well. And to Carton, that’s reason enough to launch Camp Carton this July at the Ramapo for Children Camp in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Camp Carton is a seven-day sleepaway camp serving children ages 10 to 12 diagnosed with TS and living in the Northeast – primarily New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The camp, which will be fully funded by Carton’s Tic Toc Stop Foundation, will host up to 50 children during its debut week – July 14 to 20.
“I am creating the camp because I know there are a lot of kids with Tourette’s whose families are a little wary of sending them to a camp because they don’t know how the other kids will handle or react to the tics and some of the other things that come along with Tourette’s,” said Carton, a popular part of WFAN Sports Radio’s “Boomer and Carton” morning show in New York. “So my thought was, why not give those kids an opportunity this year to have a sleepover camp experience where the families don’t have to worry and the kids can enjoy camp for what it’s supposed to be.”
Collaborating with Carton to help make Camp Carton a success is the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), which annually hosts its own Family Retreat Weekend at YMCA Camp Bernie in Port Murray, N.J. Carton hopes many NJCTS families will consider Camp Carton because of its close proximity to New Jersey and appeal as a parent-free option in addition to the Family Retreat Weekend.
“We look forward to working with NJCTS to make families aware of this opportunity and to help us reach kids affected by Tourette Syndrome in the Tri-State Area who will benefit from this type of experience,” said Carton, who is an Honorary Member of NJCTS Board of Directors. “I have worked with NJCTS and (Executive Director) Faith Rice for many years, and I think their Camp Bernie Family Retreat is one of the single best camp experiences that I have ever seen. I believe Camp Carton will complement those efforts.”
Camp Carton will feature a daily slate of activities, with a wide variety of options from which to choose, including swimming, boating, sports, hiking, a ropes course, arts & crafts, and much more. But the No. 1 goal, according to Carton, is to provide a fun, safe atmosphere for kids affected by Tourette Syndrome.
“The goal of the camp is that we will see these kids smiling, having a good time and not worrying about their Tourette’s and if they twitch or tic no one is going to make fun of them,” Carton said. “If we can achieve that and I get 50 smiles when they all are saying goodbye, it will be a successful camp.”
Parents interested in sending their kids to Camp Carton should visit www.campcarton.com, review the selection criteria and fill out an application as soon as possible, as space is extremely limited. Applicants who are selected to attend Camp Carton will be notified in May.
“The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome is pleased to support Craig Carton’s effort to provide another safe, friendly place for the 1 in 100 kids with TS to be themselves and socialize with other kids facing the same daily struggle,” NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice said. “Along with the NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend, Camp Carton will continue to ensure that the Tri-State Area is the premier place for children and families affected by Tourette Syndrome to receive support, grow and become happy, productive members of society.”
More information about NJCTS’ Family Retreat Weekend is available by calling 908-575-7350 or by visiting www.njcts.org. The 10th annual Family Retreat Weekend will take place June 6-8.