Bringing summer camp to Texas Children’s

With the school year over, parents are planning their children’s summer activities. We might reflect back to our childhood and the anticipation of summer break, remembering all of the fun opportunities we had. We hope to give our children a glimpse into some of the same exciting experiences we enjoyed. We look back on those days in summer camp with fondness. We reminisce about those moments of sitting around a campfire with new friends, the smell of marshmallows roasting over the flame, singing and dancing along with camp songs. The days were filled with canoeing, archery and the feeling of butterflies in your stomach as you zip-lined through the trees. Every day was another chance to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. A week spent at camp was a week where worries and fears were forgotten, and new friends and memories were made. 

As thrilling as summer camp can be, there are many children who face medical complexities that make it hard for them to benefit from traditional summer camp settings. They may require specific accommodations, such as wheelchair accessibility or daily injections, which could make attending traditional summer camps challenging. For children living with complex medical needs, as well as their siblings, camp experiences can be even more impactful. Camps give them an opportunity to step out of their day-to-day activities and have new positive experiences. 

At Texas Children’s Hospital, we work with various organizations to support camp experiences for children with medical conditions. It is during these special camps when children can connect with other kids going through similar experiences and learn from each other. For those children who cannot go away to camp because they happen to be in the hospital, Texas Children’s is hosting our second annual Camp for All 2 U and adapting camp activities for our patients and their siblings to enjoy in the hospital setting. This past month you might have seen patients racing down the halls in canoes or practicing their aim as they try out archery in the playrooms. Throughout the week, patients and their siblings will be able to leave behind the stress and anxiety of being in the hospital and focus on trying new things and making memories with new friends at camp. 

We understand the importance of maintaining high quality medical care for our patients and families, while supporting their needs for important childhood experiences. If you have a child who you feel would benefit from camp experiences, please talk with your medical care team to explore available options. 

Post by:

Diane Kaulen, child life specialist