2014 Retreat - Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort
The 2014 SAKKS 3 Day Retreat was held at the Surf Leisure Resort in Wollongong NSW. Twenty four families attended from every corner of Australia.
Families arrived just after lunch on Friday the 26th September and were shown to their cabins to unpack and get ready. For some families this was the first time, for some families it was coming home to old friends, but for all families the experience was unique and beautiful.
Dinner time arrived and as you panned the room you noticed that every table was filled with families, a mix of different family members seated together forming new friendships, with the sound of clanking plates, talking and laughter the scene represented a large family reunion. We were certainly spoilt by the staff at Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort.
Later Friday evening we were treated with a performance by Dream Big, Over a hundred guests watched a beautiful dance and song recital by a group of talented young people. A few tears (mostly mine) and an applause that cracked the paint off the conference room walls.
Despite the pleas from my kids to “have a bike ride” “play tennis” “just a quick round of putt putt” this family was in bed and asleep by 8.30.
Refreshed and ready to go for breakfast at 8am on Saturday the 27th, we gathered together before we had some time to do all the things that was available to us at the resort, including a guided walk to the beach and swimming supervised by Justin, Jasmine and Leah.
Parents and grand parents attended a very informative session with Dr Janine Smith (Geneticist). Dr Smith talked about everything KS and answered questions over the next 90 minutes.
Our kids were entertained by Daniel D in the next room, with his tricks, stories he really kept the kids mesmerised and happy, he even followed us into the dining
room and continued making balloon animals as we hoovered our lunch. The children were given a fun gift bag from Zoe.
After lunch Gordon shared a music therapy session with the kids while parents participated in a group discussion led by Melasande before enjoying afternoon tea.
SAKKS Olympics hosted by Darrin. While watching the Olympics I realised how many generations I have watched over the last 10 years. There were lots of new siblings, siblings who “get it” and have great compassion and understanding, who help one of our kids with KS without blinking an eyelid, quite often they were not their own sibling, money can’t buy that kind of LOVE.
After another wonderful meal, the kids rushed to the highly anticipated disco. DJ Dan supplied the music for what was a fantastic experience for kids and adults alike. Nearly 100 people eagerly showed off their dance moves, with some making new friends as they joined hands and boogied down. Everyone agreed that this was an excellent end to the last night at the SAKKS retreat.
As families awoke on the last morning and made their way to breakfast, it was clear that though they had spent only a short weekend together, lifelong friendships had been made. Once again, tables were crammed with a mixture of different families, all eagerly talking about the day ahead. There was one last surprise for the kids, a morning of fun on the bouncy castle supervised by some fantastic volunteers from Kiwanis. A line formed early, and as soon as the doors opened the kids poured in. Although there were a variety of different ages, all of the kids got along perfectly. Before long it was clear that three days packed full of fun was starting to take effect, when several children decided to take a nap on the bouncy castle!
Many thanks to Melasande, Zoe, Chloe, Holly, Brendon, Lisa, Darrin, Dr Smith, Kiwani's, Justine, Jasmine, Leah, Adrian, McGrath Agents, Cafe Primo Seaford for your support and hard work to help make this retreat possible, x
A total of 14 families (48 people all together) attended this year’s retreat which was held in Sydney, with 8 interstate families travelling the many kilometres to be there.
It was so lovely to see all the kids, some of them for the first time. Our lovely Zoe gave all the kids a huge gift bag brimming with all sorts of treats for the kids. Parents received a surprise from SAKKS which included a relaxation theme with a personal massager and scented candles.
After a great night’s sleep and with a fresh and sunny morning we all gathered for breakfast before going to our own conference room to begin the activities. One room was decked out for the kids and our guest clown entertainer arrived, whilst in the other room Dr. Collins and fellows gave an informative presentation to 30 adults including 2 adults with KS.
Afterwards we enjoyed another meal together before we spent the afternoon chatting and watching the kids, this was followed by a disco. It was so good to see everyone dancing.
The weekend ended with Tai Chi on the Sunday morning after breakfast.