Last week, 50+ campers joined us for three, fun-filled days at Camp Angel (formerly Kids Kamp). This program, which blends therapeutic learning with camp activities (the serious and the silly), is one of our most popular Facing Cancer Together programs, and centers around kids age 5-18 who have or have had a parent or caregiver with cancer. We were thrilled to see so many new and returning faces (campers and volunteers alike!) and were inspired to hear of the impact our programming was having at home.

Our “medical play” sessions, in particular, seemed to resonate with the group as a whole. Children and teens alike participated in this activity, where they learned about ports, chemotherapy, the anatomy of blood, and more! Each camper was given a stuffie to take home, specially outfitted with its own “port”, and the kit needed to administer chemotherapy to their new friend. One camper went home and exclaimed “look mommy: he has a port just like you!” Another camper went so far as to demonstrate the process of administering chemotherapy to mom. We are so pleased to have reached our campers on this level and to have provided them with useful information to continue having conversations about cancer at home.

Read more about the impact of camp through the eyes of our Teen Mentors, a special group of campers who act as counselors by day, campers by night:

“Last year was my first year ever at Camp Angel. I was really shy and scared: it was my first time staying away from home for so long… Camp has helped me with my shyness and now as a Teen Mentor, I feel more open-minded to others around me… Having other teens around me who are going through the same thing helps.”

“Team Quest has always been one of my favorite parts of camp. Not only do they help develop team player and leadership skills, they also help kids at camp come together in a time of need. When so many of the campers are facing difficult times with cancer in their family, it is important to have a support team…”

“It was my third camp and my first as a teen (when I met my two best friends). From the moment I saw them, I knew we would be friends forever. I asked if I could share a room with them (at camp) and after camp ended, we exchanged numbers… (we discovered after camp) that we had a connection more than just knowing someone with cancer. We hung out more and more until we practically became sisters!… I met my two best friends thanks to Camp Angel.”

Heidi D. Johnson