Barretstown is a specially designed camp for children and families affected by serious illnesses and life long conditions such as haemophilia. The Barretstown programme is based on an approach known as Therapeutic Recreation. This approach offers children and their families the opportunity to enjoy fun activities while exploring the four main areas of personal development – Challenge, Success, Reflection and Discovery.

What does this all mean?

The children or families as a whole are entertained with lots of activities these vary from Creative programmes – arts n’ crafts, drama, theatre, music, pottery, photography and adventure activities such as high ropes, canoeing, fishing, archery and horse riding to name but a few!  Although it looks like these activities are purely for fun (which they are!) it is through the challenge of taking part in new and exciting activity that may push a child slightly out of their comfort zone  that children have a sense of success, this encourages a child to face any further challenges in the future with strength and confidence. Through reflection the children talk about their success and how they felt when they achieved their goals – this encourages a sense of empowerment and lastly discovery – shows the child that if they could manage something they didn’t think they would, like singing a song with their group in a show, what else are they capable of?!!!

So now that the serious stuff is over – it is important to mention just how much fun children and indeed parents have when they go to Barretstown and the answer is LOTS! The camps for children ages seven years up are eight days in length – which may seem an overwhelming amount of time when deciding to send your child to Barretstown. It might seem like an eternity for the parents, but it absolutely flies in for the children. More often than not when parents are collecting their children – the children are crying about the fact that they have to go home. Friendships are forged and serious fun is foremost.

Family weekends are three days in length and involve the whole family. Again, through the therapeutic recreation programme – parents and children alike take part in the various activities Barretstown has to offer in an encouraging, safe and fun environment. This gives the family time together to have fun and relax away from the pressures of everyday life.

Siblings are also offered the opportunity to attend Barretstown – there is a specific camp for siblings of a child with a bleeding disorder. This allows the sibling to experience the same activities and environment as their brother/sister which is an excellent way of including the whole family.

Barretstown is a completely free service backed by a fully qualified medical team. If you think your child/children may be interested in attending a camp in Barretstown or you would like to attend a family camp please contact Robert in the office on 01 657 9900 for further information.

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