Kids Kamp 2010: "I’ve never been here before, but I definitely want to come back."
There’s a special set of challenges that children and teens face when one of their parents has cancer. There’s suddenly something crucially important to their family that they want to understand and seek support for but that many people their age won’t be able to identify with. They want to take some time to have fun, but they don’t want to be a burden on their parents when they are struggling.
Angel Foundation’s Kids Kamp 2010 gave more than 90 kids of all ages the chance to take a break from stress and worry and discuss their troubles with mentors and peers with the same problems and the same worries. “You need good friends to lean on when life gets tough,” said one camper. That’s why we host Kids Kamp: to show children that they are not alone, that people care, people sympathize, and people struggle alongside them and to have some fun at the same time!
This year, our campers were greeted by record heat and were excited to throw themselves into water games and water balloon fights to cool off, along with decorating rocks.
Once the weather began to cooperate, they switched over to hula hooping and practicing on the high ropes course, where one camper says that she “learned about teamwork and friendship.”
Later, they gathered together to write their worries and their hopes on a scrap of paper and then throw that paper and those worries into the fire and talk honestly about having cancer in the family. “I learned how vulnerable a person you can be,” said one, “but with trust and teamwork it will disappear!”
There was also time to talk with staff and with our teen mentors about whatever concerns they had and to share their experiences. “Lots of people have to deal with the same stuff as you,” realized one camper. “I’m not the only one who has a mom with cancer.” So for three days, from arrival in the heat to our final Family Celebration the last day, and with karaoke, new friends, and new games in between, our campers came together.
The last words about camp for many? “I’ve never been here before, but I definitely want to come back!”
Kids Kamp is a FaCT program run every summer for children and teens who have a parent with cancer. To learn more or to sign up for next year’s camp, contact Janice Haines at firstname.lastname@example.org or Missy Lundquist at email@example.com.