Every year, the Ontario Huntington Retreat provides a
variety of activities that campers are unable to experience at home,
waterfront activities such as kayaking, sail boats, canoeing,
swimming, tubing, water skiing
mini golf, billiards, shuffleboard, exercise equipment
variety of arts and crafts activities
and of course the annual baseball game and other impromptu
The retreat at Lake Joseph is especially designed
for people with
special needs. The rooms are equipped with heat, hydro, sinks, two
single beds and a dresser. Each room has its own 3-piece bath so a
camper shares this with one roommate. There are several common areas
as gathering rooms, with comfortable seating, big screen TV, piano and
fireplace. And, thereís a remarkable screened-in gazebo situated
on top of a small hill overlooking the lake, which is wonderful for
calming activities such as meditating.
Staff are a critical component of the retreat experience. Our staff
are dedicated and knowledgeable people who relate to campers. They
engage campers and foster an environment that makes the camp a fun and
The staff complement includes two Directors and
six volunteers. Each
staffer organizes retreat activities and is responsible for two to
three campers, which ensures every camper receives special attention.The
Ontario retreat includes memorable experiences. There is a
massage therapist, an entertainment night, a music therapy group and an
artist who provides campers with an opportunity to create their own
This year we plan to add other unique experiences. For example, at
the closing ceremony, a very emotional time, we plan to release
butterflies as a sign of releasing to the universe our deepest wish:
Find a cure for Huntington disease (see http://magicalmonarchs.com for
details). And, we plan to give each camper a fanny pack as a memento of
their days at camp.
What does it mean to campers?
A chance to really experience life...
The intense, week-long program gives campers an opportunity to
simply experience life and to be ó thatís all. Campers
donít have to worry about anything; every person at the retreat
is equal and the same, and everyone speaks the same language. Camp
offers an environment where people with HD can try new things without
being scared of failing or being judged. Many campers have new and
empowering experiences. It is not uncommon to hear: "Wow, I never
knew I could still do that".
Dream: Just imagine...
Twenty people who suffer from a movement disorder that affects
balance - most have difficulty walking - yet they play baseball and run
around the bases.
Receiving your first massage, relaxing and enjoying the power of
what a serene environment can do. Physical touch is something that many
campers yearn for.
Not only going in the water but tubing. This is a unique
experience for most campers - last year many even went out in the rain.
They just wanted to experience and BE.
Participating in a music therapy session that releases powerful
emotions. Imagine drumming to the beat of your own energy. The
experience is so meaningful that campers do not want it to end.
Meditating, guided by music and a calm voice - which usually
leads to a significant drop in movement. When the meditation is
finished, no one moves no one speaks; some people cry and everyone sits
there looking at each other not wanting it to end.
Making crafts and t-shirts that you can share with your loved
ones - that later remind you of camp.
Making a collage of who you are and whatís important in
Attendance at the HD Retreat is free and transportation can be
arranged from the Greater Toronto Area to and from the retreat location in
If you want to attend the next retreat, please contact your local HSC social worker directly for
further details and to make an application.