Activities are designed to be child centred in Barretstown. Children are first, their abilities and medical condition does not define them.

From being a part of teams in Barretstown and being around peers, campers gain respect, are appreciated, are accepted, and become friends. They learn how to play and have fun in the same activities. Children benefit from these interactions that will last beyond Barretstown. Stereotypes are eliminated, as people’s awareness is heightened and attitudes change. When this happens in a fun place – like camp, new, more accepting, and consequently, more accommodating attitudes and behaviours find their way into other areas of everyday life  and at school. Activities at Barretstown are adapted to meet individual needs, such as emotional, medical, physical needs, age, energy levels. Staff focus on individual needs and adapt activities to suit these needs, to ensure all of the team are participating & challenged, guaranteeing individual success and fun!

All activities at Barretstown are intentional to provide success for campers using Therapeutic Recreation.  All activities at Barretstown reflect the philosophy of participation through cooperation– not competition. Each activity challenges the individual and/or group to move beyond perceived limitations and achieve success in a way that focuses on ability rather than their illness. Every activity is inclusive. Each child and staff member has a role to play in achieving success for the group.


Canoeing is an opportunity for campers to acquire a new skill from learning to steer, glide, back paddle or simply to overcome a fear of water. The introduction to canoeing ensures all campers are aware of safety and the importance of staying warm and dry during this activity. Caras may need to go canoeing with campers or spread out along the bank to ensure effective coverage of all campers.


It is important to emphasise that archery is not about getting a “bull’s eye” but the process involved i.e. learning how to stand properly, hitting the target or balloon. Safety is a huge area to be aware of at archery and the Activity Leader will use whistle commands to ensure all campers, regardless of language will understand the commands.


Fishing, a quiet and relaxed activity! Our policy at Barretstown is catch & release meaning the fish are treated gently and put back in the lake to ensure a happy & healthy fish population for the next group to arrive. Fishing is an individual activity.


Music offers a unique environment for young people to express themselves loudly, quietly, sitting or doing a parade across camp. Music offers opportunities to explore sound, rhythm, tone and our camp instruments.


Photography offers a chance to learn basic or more advanced skills in taking and developing photos in our dark room to producing, directing & editing a music video.


With Paul Newman as founder, drama has a special place at Barretstown. Children love the professional stage, sound, lighting systems, and costume rooms. Drama challenges children to find new creative ways of self-expression, humour and confidence building . Children become actors, singers, film directors, dancers and make up artists.


Campers are encouraged to express themselves by experimenting with science and the outdoors in our Discovery programme. Individual and group projects are offered from building a fort or making a volcano or learning about nature at its best.

Arts & Crafts

Each camper will have the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of activities from pottery & bracelet making to sketching, mosaics and making sand/salt bottles. The environment is so relaxed that campers and caras can’t help but be creative and let their imagination and creativity flow.

Equestrian/ Horse Riding

Campers get to ride a horse or care for the horse by grooming and feeding. This can be around the stables or one of our routes for the horses. This is a perfect opportunity to learn about the care and treatment of animals, it teaches responsibility and respect for animals well being and has proved very therapeutic for children and parents. As with all our activities, safety is paramount when working with animals. As staff it is your responsibility to lead a camper & horse on a walk.

High Ropes/ New Heights, Low Ropes, Climbing Wall

The Adventure Course is made up of a series of low and high challenges, designed to give the children a chance to work individually or in groups. New heights is a popular and challenging activities at Barretstown and also provides a dramatic contrast to the hospital environment. Campers can all take the challenge and succeed by reaching new heights to up to 30 feet. Challenge is all individual and children can make their own decisions about how far they would like to climb.

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