A European Summer Camp for young people with Williams Syndrome took place in Ireland for the first time this summer.
Cashel man Donal Carroll was among those who took part in the summer camp.
Williams Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes multiple development problems.
This can include heart problems, narrowed blood vessels, musculoskeletal problems, and learning disabilities. The syndrome is estimated to occur in about 1 in 20,000 births, and affects approximately 100 families in Ireland.
The camp attended by Donal took place at the University of Limerick in early July. It was designed for people with Williams Syndrome between the ages of 13 to 30 and focused on the theme, ‘Our Music, Our Culture’. The theme was chosen because, as founder and Honorary President Ann Breen explained, “Almost all people with Williams Syndrome have hyper-sensitive hearing and some have perfect pitch and extraordinary musical talents.”
Alongside Donal, some 80 people from 11 different European countries were in attendance at the camp, which has been taking place around Europe since 2005.
This marked the first time ever that the European Federation of Williams Syndrome Associations held its annual gathering in Ireland.
Funded through the Erasmus + Youth Exchange programme, the camp focused on informal learning opportunities.
Participants took part in activities that included music workshops, theatre workshops, flora and fauna trails, an introduction to Gaelic games, and day-trips to Bunratty Castle and the Cliffs of Moher.
The young people in attendance were also encouraged to showcase the music and culture from their home countries.
Further information is available at: www.williamssyndrome.ie
Léargas is the national agency in Ireland that coordinates funding for the Erasmus + Youth Exchange programme. The programme builds upon learning for participants from year to year.
The Williams Syndrome Association of Ireland is a registered charity and each individual works on a completely voluntary basis.
The aim of the association is to “promote the general welfare of children suffering from Williams Syndrome and to provide practical help and support for children and families affected by Williams Syndrome”.