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Press Release from the Chairperson: Cleft NZ 2013 Youth Camp

Hi all

I hope the festive season is treating you and your families well. For anyone in hospital or recovering from a procedure, we wish you the quickest of recovery for Xmas.

This year has finished off with a bang for Cleft NZ as we held our first National Cleft NZ Camp for young people affected by Cleft Lip and/or Palate.

First, thanks must go to the wonderful camp participants – without these truly brave and intrepid young people this event would still be a great idea not yet realised. Going on a camp with people you’ve never met, having a number of volunteers and Cleft Team members hovering around you to ensure you were happy with all needs met – it is all pretty intense and yet our group took it all in their stride. Facing challenges, together, with courage and lots of laughter sums it up for me. It made for a really impressive sight for all of us there. We hope that their experience, which we welcome them all to share, will encourage even more participants next time.

This camp has been an aspiration of Kenny’s for many years. It is not luck or coincidence that camp went so well. Kenny had researched, peer reviewed and just worked incredibly hard (and long) to pull this off. The Board at Cleft NZ takes it hat off to him and can comfortably say we were right to let him talk us into it! I will let Kenny fill you in about some of the highlights – his perspective on things, as someone who has had a dream come true, is much more powerful than my own.

I could thank people all day and night but I must thank all the volunteers – Alex, Aliza, Ellen, Tessa and Tammy  – you were invaluable. Also, Rachael, John and Jo – our Board who came and fully participated in activities (some of which scared the daylights out of them) – thank you very much, not just for this event but all the help in 2013. Susan Frear, ex Chair of Cleft NZ must also be thanked whole-heartedly for her support rounding up children to attend. Last but certainly not least, the parents who entrusted your children to us – thank you for loaning us your beautiful, talented and great natured off spring!

We sincerely hope that the kids who came felt that it was well worthwhile. Everyone will have something they will have taken away from the weekend. For me, seeing the participants work as a group after knowing each other for such a short time was amazing.  I was also struck by the mutual respect our young people showed each other and the volunteers.

Without Community Organisational Grants this camp would not have been possible, thanks especially to Waitakere and Manukau COGS for your help, it is hard to put into words what a difference your support makes to an organisation like Cleft NZ

That’s all from me – the pictures which we will put up will say 1,000 words.

Louise

Cleft NZ Chairperson

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