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Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance

Beat Retreat camp

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What is the Beat Retreat?

The Beat Retreat is a fun-filled, four-day weekend for adults with congenital heart disease. You’ll have an opportunity to participate in a mix of traditional camp activities – all geared to your physical ability and comfort level. Equally important, you’ll have an opportunity to make new friends and learn from the experiences of other CHD patients. You’ll also have an opportunity to chat with healthcare professionals in a relaxed and informal setting. In short, it’s a weekend of fun, friends, firsts, and great food.    

A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Check our promotional video on YouTube.

Check out our photo album on The Beat Retreat Facebook page.

When is the 2016 retreat?

This year’s retreat will be held September 15-18, 2016. If you can’t make it for the entire weekend, that’s okay – come for the part that you can.   

Where is it held?

The retreat is held at Camp Quin-Mo-Lac – a beautiful 240-acre camp located on the shores of Moira Lake. That’s about 30 minutes north of Belleville, Ontario (about 2.5 hours from Toronto and Ottawa). You can learn more about Camp Quin-Mo-Lac at www.campqml.org.

What happens at the retreat?

We’re still fine-tuning the itinerary for 2016, but – based on past retreats – you can look forward to a range of activities, such as campfires, canoeing, crafts, archery, initiatives course, scavenger hunt, yoga, badminton, hiking, board games, kangaroo court, skit night, and a polar bear dip. We'll also include an informal educational component where you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions of cardiac healthcare professionals. All activities are geared to heart patients and you decide which activities are right for you – based on your interests, physical ability and comfort level. 

Where do we stay during the retreat?

We offer a true “camp experience.” That means you’ll stay in a comfortable, but rustic lodge. You’ll enjoy the “luxury” of a heated sleeping cabin, but you’ll also be sharing a room with others and sleeping on a bunk. Linen and pillows are not provided, so you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag and a pillow. 

How much does it cost?

Our goal is to make the retreat as financially accessible as we can. With that in mind, the Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance (CCHA) subsidizes much of the cost. All you pay is $75 (although this fee may be reduced or waived if you can prove financial hardship). That covers your food, accommodation and activities for all four days (although if you want to book a massage while you are at camp, you’ll need to pay a bit extra). That’s a fantastic deal! In fact, it's about half the actual cost; the CCHA covers the rest.

If you can afford more than the $75 registration fee, however, we urge you to make a donation to the CCHA to help us offset costs. If you wish to make a donation (this is an amount over and above the $75 registration fee), please send a second (separate) cheque made out for the desired amount and be sure to write “Beat Retreat Donation” in the memo line. Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.

Is there a minimum age for attending?

Yes. You must be at least 18 years of age by the first day of the retreat (September 15, 2016).  

Do I need to be a member of CCHA to attend the Beat Retreat?

Yes. Membership is free and you can sign up online via the link at the top right of the website's home page. Being a member automatically makes you part of the congenital heart disease community - which helps when we go to industry and the government for funding for our programs. You will also receive email updates from us (but not too many!).

How do I get to the Beat Retreat?

Unfortunately, we don’t provide transportation. But if you don’t have a car, we’ll do our best to get you there. If you need a ride, let us know and we’ll try to match you up with someone from your area who can give you a lift. Alternatively, you can take the train or bus to Belleville and will arrange to pick you up at the station.

How do I register?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Complete the Application form and return it as soon as possible, along with a cheque for $75. The cheque should be made out to the Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance. Mail your application to: The Beat Retreat c/o Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance, 497 Silverthorn Avenue, Toronto, ON M6M3H8 or scan and email it to thebeatretreat@cchaforlife.org.
  • Ask your cardiologist to fill out the Medical Form. Once your cardiologist has filled it in, you need to sign it and send us both forms no later than August 26, 2016. If you have trouble getting your cardiologist to fill out the form, let us know – we may be able to help.

Where can I get more information?

You have three options:

  • You can send us an email at thebeatretreat@cchaforlife.org
  • You can call Toby Cox at 647-710-1198 or Ted Thaler at 416-428-6370.
  • You can go to our Facebook page and post your question.

Keep in mind that there are only 50 spots available, which we expect will fill up quickly – so get you application in soon.

What have others said about The Beat Retreat?

Here are some quotes from past attendees:

  • “The opportunity to ask questions and just chat about life experiences with others who have shared similar experiences is invaluable.”
  • “The laughter, the support, and the people. The Beat Retreat is a weekend like no other. It’s not to be missed.”
  • “In any setting, I’m always amazed to be around people who have had similar medical experiences, and persevered. Camping with them brings our collective strength to a whole new level!”
  • “Never a dull moment – there was always something to do… be it low ropes, initiatives, rock climbing, yoga, canoeing, arts & crafts or hiking.”
  • “My favourite part of this year’s camp was all of us sitting around a campfire, roasting gooey marshmallows for our s’mores, and listening to the stories, issues, and concerns we all share.
  • “I found it was a great opportunity to meet, interact and share stories with others, who like myself, have lived with cardiac challenges, setbacks and triumphs all of their lives. It was a great experience.
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing The Beat Retreat. It was my first time camping and it proved to me that people with heart conditions can handle the outdoors, no problem.”
  • “The Beat Retreat is an amazing and life-changing experience. The people you meet are all so wonderful and beautiful.”
  • “The campfires were a blast. It’s always a great experience to connect with other people who have CHD and see what they have achieved in life.”
  • “The Beat Retreat is a wonderful setting to forge new friendships.”
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