By Richard Stein & Belinda Brown | Posted: Thursday March 4, 2021
Another CCNZ Camp Purple was held in early January 2021. Read Richard Stein and Belinda Brown's report on this camp
On 4 January 77 children and teens from all over New Zealand made their way to Carey Park in the Waitakere Ranges to attend CCNZ’s Camp Purple Live. In the weeks leading up to camp, with so much uncertainty about COVID-19, everyone was worried that the 7th annual week-long camp would be cancelled. The CCNZ Camp Committee needed to take extra precautions. The camp’s “away day” was cancelled to keep risks to a minimum and the concurrent two-day parent’s seminar was held offsite to keep our “bubbles” separated and under 100 just in case Auckland moved to level 2. Parents were asked to drop their children at the door and not enter the site at all. We had isolation rooms in addition to our normal medical rooms and heaps of hand sanitiser!
Six doctors and four nurses kindly gave up their holiday leave to work at the camp to look after the children. They dispensed daily medications and took care of everything from minor cuts and scrapes to IBD flares. Most importantly, they interacted and participated in activities, giving the children the opportunity to learn that doctors and nurses are people too.
Activities included kayaking, raft building, air rifles, flying fox, rock climbing, and last, but certainly not least, our Carnival Day and Disco Night. The Wipeout course certainly provided a few laughs. The campers chased volunteers (including the medical staff!), hitting them with pool noodles, while trying hard to soak them on the obstacle course.
One highlight this year was encouraging open discussions about IBD, led by our child psychologist, Hollie Asprey (who has ulcerative colitis herself). The children enthusiastically participated in group question and answer sessions led by Hollie and supported by the medical team.
We had high profile politicians come and visit the camp including ACT leaders David Seymour and Brooke van Velden. David Seymour even filmed a clip with Nicole Thornton, our Junior Ambassador, about her I Can’t Wait sticker campaign.
It is difficult to convey the impact the camp has on these children and what it means to them to meet others who understand their illness, to make new friends, and to have six days of being able to be just children. For those of you who have not experienced Camp Purple, it is an amazing experience.
We are truly indebted to all of our sponsors and our medical team, without whom there would be no camp. This year’s medical team included Professor Andrew Day, Dr Richard Stein, Professor Michael Schultz, Dr Malcolm Arnold, Dr Shaun Ho, Dr Jonathan Bishop, Kirsten Rosser, Nideen Visesio, Karyn Davies, Kelsey Trotter and Hollie Asprey.
Camp Purple Live 2022 planning is already well under way and will take place at Living Springs in Lyttleton. For more information about Camp Purple, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uin88vOE7_s or visit our website. https://crohnsandcolitis.org.nz/camp-purple-live?src=nav.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Belinda at email@example.com.