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10th annual Tourette Syndrome Family Retreat Weekend promises great camaraderie

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The popular Saturday night Talent Show will be back and better than ever at the 10th anniversary edition of the NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend from June 6-8 at YMCA Camp Bernie. Credits: NJCTS
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The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) is turning 10 this year, and as part of the anniversary celebration, it is proud to announce that registration for the 10th annual NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend – to take place June 6-8 at YMCA Camp Bernie – is now open.

The NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend – dubbed by past attendees as “the best weekend of the year” – always has been a source of encouragement, fun, inspiration, learning and relaxation to children with TS and their families. Nearly 200 people from all over New Jersey attended in 2013, and more are expected in 2014 as NJCTS expands the weekend and its programming to celebrate a decade of memories.

“I can't say enough about the NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend experience at Camp Bernie,” camper Jenifer O’Neill said after taking her family on the retreat in 2013. “The work that the team at NJCTS puts into this amazing program is unsurpassed. It is place where our kids can feel comfortable being themselves and know they are not alone. The professionally led groups for parents are so supportive and educational, and the presence and support of youth advocates is also a tremendous plus. It is priceless to have time to spend with other families, see familiar faces and share stories. I also love making new connections and deepening existing ones.”

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The weekend will begin earlier this year, running Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, to accommodate additional program and allow attending families to help NJCTS celebrate 10 years of accomplishments, advocacy, awareness and, of course, camaraderie. Cabins are expected to fill up fast this year, so families are encouraged to register early by filling out the 2014 NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend online registration form. The cost for this year’s weekend is $40 per person, and the registration deadline is May 1.

“The NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend means everything,” said Ed Baumann, who attended with his family in 2013 and annually hosts the weekend’s popular Saturday night Talent Show. “We always look forward to this weekend. To be with families that are going through the same things we are is so critical to our emotional, physical and mental health. This is probably the one weekend where our children can just truly enjoy themselves without feeling like they are being stared at or judged. Can you imagine how that must feel? Words just cannot express.”

NJCTS also is looking for volunteers and fundraising/corporate sponsorship partners for the 2014 NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend. Sponsors are needed because it typically costs $150 per person to attend the weekend, but NJCTS charges only $40. If you interested in either of these opportunities, please contact NJCTS Family Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator Leanne Loewenthal by calling 908-575-7350 or e-mailing lloewenthal@njcts.org.

Part of this year’s NJCTS Family Retreat Weekend once again is being funded by a grant from the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation. To read more testimonials from past Family Retreat Weekends, please visit the TSParentsOnline blog or NJCTS Online Newsroom. For directions to Camp Bernie, visit http://campbernieymca.org/index.php/contact/directions.

Also available in 2014 is Camp Carton, a seven-day sleepaway camp serving children ages 10 to 12 diagnosed with TS and living in New Jersey and the rest of the Tri-State Area. The camp, which will be fully funded by WFAN Sports Radio personality Craig Carton’s Tic Toc Stop Foundation, will host up to 50 children during its debut week – July 14 to 20. More information is available by visiting www.campcarton.com.

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