TORCH Retreat Ignites Future Leaders

 In News, NYCHC Events, Teens / Young Adults

This past September, NYCHC re-branded our teen program under the acronym TORCH. TORCH, which stands for Teen Opportunities and Resources for Community Health, is geared toward all teens in the bleeding disorders community (affected and not). The program aims to provide a safe and challenging leadership experience for teens.

As part of the new teen programming, NYCHC hosted its first teen retreat September 23-24, 2017. Thirteen teens along with 5 mentors, NYCHC staff, Nurse Hope Woodcock-Ross, and special guest mentor, Chris Bombardier spent the weekend at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC). Bombardier, who climbed Mount Everest earlier this year and is the first person with hemophilia to do so, served as a lead mentor and gave a presentation on his Seven Summits tour, setting and achieving goals, and maintaining motivation despite life’s challenges.

Throughout the weekend, the teens (whose ages ranged from 12½ to 17) were challenged outside of their comfort zones: socially, emotionally, and physically. Although somewhat familiar with one another from various Chapter events throughout the years, this was the first time the group had spent an extensive period together. Navigating through the woods using only a compass, or on a night hike together, they were required to rely on one another and support one another. Other activities throughout the weekend included canoeing, a low ropes course, campfire and s’mores, and of course, cabin pranks ensued. The retreat was not complete without a self-infusion workshop, led by Nurse Hope. Each of the mentors, who all have bleeding disorders themselves, demonstrated the varying techniques that they use to self-infuse. The retreat ended with an awards presentation for each of the participants.

Based on the feedback from participating teens and their parents, the retreat was a smashing success! All involved agreed that next year’s retreat should be a longer, full-weekend affair. NYCHC aims to continue TORCH programming throughout 2018 by providing CPR/first aid trainings, volunteer opportunities, social events, and educational engagement aimed at giving teens valuable skills to take charge of their health care and independent lifestyle.

For more information about the TORCH program, please email Krystle at [email protected].

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