SHAYP Life Summer Youth Camp 2015
A story by Scottish Huntington's Association
A 5-day summer camp for 45 young people aged 8 – 25 years old, living in a family affected by Huntington’s disease.
The camp included a range of daytime and evening activities as well as one-to-one and group sessions with Scottish Huntington’s Association Specialist Youth Advisors, on the issues surrounding Huntington’s disease and being a young carer.
What SHAYP Life Summer Youth Camp 2015 did
Scottish Huntington's Association Youth Project (SHAYP) has worked tirelessly over the year to organise a bespoke 5 day summer camp for young people living in families affected by Huntington's disease. Along with 5 SHAYP Staff, 3 additional volunteers were recruited from the Scottish Huntington's Association Well-being Volunteer Service and received bespoke training to understand the needs of young people at camp.
SHAYP secured an appropriate venue, organised daytime and evening activities, facilitated the 5 day camp including transport to and from venue, planned and delivered a young persons conference on Young Carers needs.
All young people invited were known to the Scottish Huntington's Association and living in families affected by Huntington's Disease. Over 120 young people were invited and 45 attended. The young people stayed for 5 days from Monday 20th July to Friday 24th July 2015.
The summer camp venue was Lagganlia Centre for Outdoor Learning which is a fantastic venue with an excellent choice of activities including duckies, white water rafting, skiing, gorge walking, mountain biking, mountain climbing to name but a few.
During their break away the young people developed and maintained peer relationship, discussed young carers specific issues and relaxed away from caring responsibilities.
Reece attended his first 5 day summer camp and although initially shy and reserved he quickly became involved with a peer group and discussed in depth the difficulties he was facing. His peer group supported him and provided information on how they managed similar situations.
Following camp Reece has stayed in touch with this peer group via text, instant messenger apps and Facebook. This has proved invaluable to supporting Reece through difficult times.
Throughout the focused group work session Carly participated well and engaged in thought provoking conversation relating to how Huntington's Disease affects a person physically, emotionally and behaviourally and the differing implications this can have on the caring role for Carly and her siblings. Through looking at the caring role from the Huntington's Disease aspect and also from the Young Carers aspect it allowed for Carly to find a role she was comfortable in providing and armed the staff with the information to speak to relevant authorities about the support which was needed in the family home.
Following the camp Carly has engaged in 1-2-1 sessions with her youth advisor and attended meetings pertaining to the care package provided at home. Carly has mentioned that she feels less anxious when out the house and more confident in her decision making skills, thus her coping skills have improved and also that she understand in roe detail the intricacies of Huntington's Disease.
Through attending the festival Anya listened to the experiences of her peers and spoke about her own experiences. Anya was particularly interested in the discussion around improving communication and how others had implemented this such as communication boards, picture boards, reading a book to their affected parent, watching TV together. Anya, upon her return home has made it her mission to improve her relationship with her mum, as she is aware that it is time limited and she has to be the one to implement the change.
Anya has dedicated one evening a week to spending with mum and just 'chatting' with her, brushing her hair or doing her nails. Anya has reported that she can see improvement in their relationship already.