Hi everyone! This week has been super exhausting for me but in a very good way. I got to work at an Arthritis Camp as a child life specialist and it was lots of fun. This is my 3rd year at the camp and every time I go there are new adventures.
Some of you might be wondering “Why camp?” And my answer is “Why not?” Camp is a wonderful place where kids and teens learn more about themselves and others in a very unique environment. Away from their family and home they grow up a bit more by challenging themselves. This could be by climbing a rock wall, stretching their creativity, problem solving with fellow campers, or even spending the night away from home for the first time. For example, I faced my fear of heights at camp this year!
Camp is great for everyone, but one of the best types of camp is for kids who all share a similar experience, like the kids who go to medical specific camps. At our arthritis camp, all the kids have some sort of rheumatologic disease. It is so awesome to see the kids compare notes about what it’s like having arthritis, how they deal with the side effects of their medications, and best of all, encouraging them to advocate for themselves.
This year the theme was magic so I came up with a few educational games that had a magic theme, which I will share in future posts so stay tuned! I also got to sit with both the oldest and the youngest campers and did some medical play with them. They all asked really great questions about how the medical equipment worked. And I also spent lots of time working with campers individually on techniques to help manage their pain from arthritis flare ups. We talked about the 3 different ways to relieve pain: physically, psychologically, and with pharmaceuticals. The nurses were very happy about this because it meant the campers weren’t just asking for meds all the time.
I absolutely love working at camp. I see so much love and support shared by all the campers and it makes a huge impact in everyone’s lives. Everyone I asked said they wanted to come back again next year. Some of them even said that they were on the waiting list last year and I know there were kids on the waiting list this year so there is definitely a need for this camp! I wish that we could do another week so more kids could come! If you have the chance to either go to camp or send a child to camp definitely do it!!!
Have you or anyone you know gone to a medical camp? What was it like? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! I’ll be waiting!