Twenty four slightly nervous teens and their parents arrived bright and early at Diabetes Auckland for Teen Camp check in. The ice breaker games started to warm everyone up, and after the bus ride everyone had talked to someone and people were starting to get to know each other. On arrival in Muriwai, the weather was a little wet, but everyone was in good spirits and looking forward to three days of fun and activities. Houghton’s Bush Camp in Muriwai was a great venue – except for the wildlife! However, we coped with a few spiders and wasps – more chances for bonding over some shared terror! Camp Manager Carla gets the award for the best response to a shower encounter with a wasp…
The first day was based around camp, with bush craft, rock wall climbing, confidence course and adventure games on the agenda. There were various skill levels and abilities, but the focus was on fun and on challenging yourself. Some people were proud to have done their first ever climbing session, others were rock climbing blindfolded (Go Emma)! The confidence course provided a climbing wall challenge too – Kenz made sure to set up a testing course in the follow the leader game, contorting his body to reach a series of impossible holds!
Tree Adventures was a highlight of the second day, spending time clipped into ziplines and rope climbs was a winner with everyone. Nurses and Camp Managers got involved too – and lots of friendships were formed during discussions as to the best route to take when hanging 10 metres up in the air! Along with Tree Adventures, there was a Woodhill Mountain Biking session. The Big Foot Adventures instructors were awesome, they had fantastic mountain biking tips and really connected with our group. A definite camp highlight was when two of the Big Foot instructors did finger pricks to check their blood sugar along with the Type 1 teens – even though neither of them had diabetes!
There was a fantastic surprise in the middle of our day at Woodhill, with our amazing Camp Manager, Andrew Good, being awarded a Seven Sharp and ASB Good as Gold award! Carla Canty, who’s the other half of the Camp Manager Dynamic Duo, was busy trying to coordinate a surprise ambush by a TV crew, whilst also running a camp! The TV crew were organised to arrive at Woodhill, but the bus with lunch was at Tree Adventures… Carla stood firm, calmly asked for the bus to be brought over and proceeded to get all the kids organised into seats around the barbecue tables. She then asked everyone to be quiet for some announcements, and stood at the front with Andrew - who admitted later that he thought Carla’s blood sugar was a bit low as she didn’t seem to actually have any announcements to make… Next moment he was ambushed by a man with a microphone giving him $10,000!
Evening sessions were spent with the Starship and DYA team and involved Diabetes based games and discussions, and again provided lots of opportunities for learning and bonding.
The final day dawned and with a clean up first on the list, there were some stars who shone through on the clean up teams (Tabea you were amazing)! Next up was a Pancake Race – and yes it involved eating pancakes! There were prizes awarded for presentation, teamwork and taste, with the Starship team very willing judges! Kayaking and a trip to Parakai Pools and McDonalds rounded out a big final day. Kayaking on a private lake surrounded by waterlilies and cows was beautiful and a lot of fun, there were some very competitive ‘friendly’ games. Relaxing in Parakai pools allowed the teens to chat about the fun they’d had over the previous three days – and to plan dinner at McDonalds. Wow, we learnt there’s a lot of carbs in those meals!
Finally it was back on the bus and time to return some exhausted but happy teens to their parents.