Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Campers

While we're in major camp preparation mode, we wanted to tell you about some camps, in this area and beyond, especially for cancer patients and their siblings. Giving these kids the opportunity to have a true camp experience, just like "normal" kids, is a mission that is near and dear to me, and I think it's well worth our attention and support! So thank you to these amazing organizations, and Happy Camping everyone!

First up is Camp Discovery, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Texas kids ages 7-16 come together at the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville for a week of fun, and we know from several friends and staff members at the clinic that it is indeed that - FUN! Because Georgia was already signed up to go to camp (and maybe because Mommy couldn't even think about her being away for another week!), she didn't sign up for this go-round, but maybe next year!

Next, Camp Grey Dove, sponsored by Any Baby Can and Candlelighters, is open to siblings of childhood cancer survivors. For four days, these kids enjoy all that Lake LBJ has to offer and build friendships with kids on similar journeys. I've said it before, but I SO appreciate organizations that recognize the special needs of siblings.

A camp that is probably familiar to many of you, and might be considered the gold standard, is The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a nonprofit, year-round center serving children and their families coping with cancer, sickle cell anemia, and other serious illnesses. They have a great volunteer program for counselors and medical professionals, and they hold periodic family weekends throughout the fall and spring. I'm thinking Connecticut sounds pretty good right about now!

Finally, coming soon to The Forty Acres (that's the UT campus for you Aggies out there) is Camp Kesem, for the children of cancer survivors. This unique program is college student-run, and thanks to LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project funding, will be expanding to 12 more campuses in the near future. Camp Kesem provides a week of fun for the children and excellent leadership opportunities for the students - such a great idea! - and I'm excited to see how it comes together here.

In case you can't tell, I LOVE CAMP, and I truly believe that every kid should have the opportunity to go to camp at least once. So if I ever win the lottery, you'll know where to find me: on the banks of the Guadalupe, manning the canoes at Hole in the Wall South. : )

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