The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders’ (NJCTS) yearly Family Retreat Weekend has been a source of fun, inspiration, learning and encouragement to individuals with TS and their families for nearly a decade. Many memories have been made, and myriad more are sure to be captured in 2013!
NJCTS is proud to announce that “the best weekend of the year” will return to beautiful YMCA Camp Bernie for the 9th annual Family Retreat Weekend on June 7-9. Registration is now open for this exciting event, and NJCTS encourages you to get your family signed up right away by filling out an new easy-to-use online registration form. The registration deadline for this year’s weekend is May 10, and the cabins fill up fast so don’t waste timing signing up!
Scores of New Jersey families flocked to YMCA Camp Bernie for last year’s event, and every single one of them had the time of their lives. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“(2012 was) our fourth year, and it’s just such a wonderful, supportive, relaxed environment,” said Allissa Letts, of Hillsborough, whose 17-year-old son David has TS. “They can be free to try things that they ordinarily wouldn’t do in an environment where they will not be judged or pressured. It gives us a chance to chat with other families experiencing the same challenges. We get to share how we’ve handled it and hear how they’ve handled it, and it’s just fantastic.”
“Camp Bernie is a weekend with people who get it – who know what it’s like to live with Tourette and who can tell us what to expect because they are a couple of years ahead of us,” said Tracey Lederman, of Howell, whose family traveled to YMCA Camp Bernie for the second time in 2012. “In some cases, we get to impart some wisdom, too. It’s nice. It feels good. It’s definitely good for our family. We don’t want to miss it.”
“Camp Bernie is important to me because it’s a place where my son can come to meet other children who also have Tourette Syndrome,” said Rockaway resident Dianne Kroeter, who attended the Family Retreat Weekend in 2012 with her daughters Sierra, 17, and Sidney, 11. “It gives an opportunity for his sisters to understand a little bit more about and meet other siblings to hear how they deal with it. Also, parents come together to talk about the situations and circumstances that we all deal with that can be challenging or rewarding.”
“Camp Bernie is great for us because it gives us an opportunity to come out once a year and not have to worry about schoolwork or when we’re rushing to the softball game or where we have to be whenever,” said Missy Bonaguide, who hails from Roseland and came to the 2012 event with her husband, Matt, and daughters Hannah, 11, Chloe, 8, and Sophie, 5. “We can just come, relax and do really fun things together as a family while not worrying about how people are perceiving us or if we’re being judged. It’s totally OK here.”
Part of this year’s Family Retreat Weekend is being funded by a grant from the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation. To read more testimonials from past Family Retreat Weekends, please visit the special Camp Bernie section of this blog community or the NJCTS Online Newsroom.
Our family has been to Camp Twitch and Shout. If your Camp Bernie is anything like that, it must be simply amazing. We’d certainly call our weekend at Twitch and Shout the best weekend of the year for our family, too.
“Brynn’s Bizarre Behavior” has been selected as a finalist for “Favorite New Special-Needs Children’s Book” in the About.com Readers’ Choice Awards. The poll is up now on my site at http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2013/02/19/vote-for-favorite-new-special-needs-childrens-book-2.htm, and I’m attaching a graphic for your use. Please let your readers know about the poll, and that they can vote once a day, every day through March 19. Winners will be announced on March 27.