After much anticipation, Wednesday 30th January rolled around and we had a lot of very excited people arriving at Thumbs Up with all their gear and enthusiasm. It was a long trip up to Napier with everyone excited for the first big activity on Thursday – Splash Planet! There had been much excitement over the past few months with many discussions around camp involving Splash Planet and what we would do there. The day didn’t disappoint. Splash Planet did us a great deal on entry prices which was a huge bonus. There was plenty of fun in the sun and swimming to be had. The highlight definitely had to be the slides, the lazy river ride and the bumper boats from the discussions around Thumbs Up after camp.
Friday saw us visiting the National Aquarium of New Zealand which was also heavily discounted for us. We had a fantastic time seeing all the different animals and everyone had a good chance to wander around and look at what they wanted to see.
We stayed at Kennedy Park Resort which was a great location for us and had some awesome facilities that our team was able to enjoy – the air pillow was a huge hit! We were able to utilize the down time that we had and enjoy each others’ company in a relaxed environment.
All too soon Saturday 2nd Feb rolled around and it was time to pack everybody and all the gear back into the vehicles and head back to Petone. We had a fantastic time and couldn’t wait to tell our friends that hadn’t been able to make it when we got back to Thumbs Up on Monday!
Here are a few words from our Inclusive Communication Specialist Shannon Hennig:
- Seeing the adults interact with the community: 1) Merryn Stevens introduced herself to a young man in the aquarium and asked him if he was “a backstreet boys”. 2) There was a women at the Honey place who probably was on the spectrum; she approached our group and Melissa responded by introducing herself and Mel (including typing both names on her iPad). 3)There were several lovely interactions on the slides between our people and the community (including a few people who also had disabilities). This is true community participation
* Getting to experience being away with a group – some interactions are only possible when you get out of your normal routine. I loved seeing everyone on the bounce pillow jumping and laughing with other people. Having the clients join staff for post dinner drinks was super nice.
* Splash Planet was a real highlight – the slides were a hit, but so was floating in the lazy river, getting to drive in the bumper boats, and I hear the jeeps were fun. It is hard to find challenging fun (and safe activities) and there were heaps on offer. Brian really stepped up and took others under his wing. I loved seeing this.