Campers from several states came out to Camp Aldrich this past Sunday to take part in the 2017 Camp Hope which runs through Saturday. This year marks the 35th Year the camp has taken place for campers that have had or have cancer.
“This camp is so important to the campers and the volunteers,” Camp Hope media coordinator Barb Keltner said. “They plan their entire summer around it. They get to have fun, enjoy many activities, but most importantly, they get to build relationships with other campers and volunteers.”
On Tuesday, the day started with a fishing derby where the campers had the chance to catch their own dinner.
“The pond has been stocked by the kind guys at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, so the chances of the campers taking home dinner was significant,” Keltner said. “But that’s not all the Kansas Wildlife guys do, they clean the fish and cook them up for us for the Camp Hope evening meal. Camp Hope is a big fan of Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks.”
After the derby, the campers got ready for a color run and color party that took place after the run. Everybody put on their Camp Hope T-shirts and ran through groups of volunteers that had different colored powder to sprinkle on the runners.
“Camp Hope is a lot of fun, I liked the color run, but the pool is my favorite,” camper Sarah Emory said. “That is were we are heading right after we get cleaned up from the color run.”
The day for the campers ended with a slip-and-slide event followed by archery for the 12-and-up group right after dinner and a photo scavenger hunt for all the campers.
One Wednesday, the campers will enjoy the day in Great Bend playing lazer tag and roller skating in the morning with lunch and bowling in the afternoon.
Camp Hope offers the campers an opportunity to do things that all children do and to be among peers who have, or have had, similar life-threatening illnesses. It provides a sense of empowerment, of self-determination and of self esteem.
Camp Hope is staffed by a 24 hour on-site medical team typically including physicians, nurses, a pharmacist and mental health specialists. Camp Hope allows the children to see they are not alone in their struggle and provide peer support for everyone involved.
Unique in its ability to assist campers’ needs through a fully functional, on-site medical team, Camp Hope campers are able to enjoy traditional summer camp activities including, but not limited to, swimming, bowling, golf, fishing, hiking, archery, arts and crafts, and more.
“It is a time for them to be around peers who have, or have had, similar life-altering illnesses and to be in a setting that lets them forget about their diagnosis while they have one of the best weeks of their lives,” Keltner said.