October 4, 2022 – Except from original article.
School is back in session. The blistering days of summer have mostly faded into the cooler breezes of fall. That means Shriners Children’s has wrapped up another season of camps designed to give patients the opportunity for extraordinary experiences and, most importantly, to just let kids be kids.
Camps sponsored by Shriners Children’s are free for our patients and staffed by volunteers, recreational therapy and child life specialists as well as other hospital staff members. Many camps are outdoor-related during the summer months but some locations offer winter activities as well.
After two years of not having in-person camps, Shriners Children’s resumed these offerings in 2022.
Maureen Johnston, a child life recreational therapist with Shriners Children’s Twin Cities, said she can’t describe what it means to have a full season of camps and what it means to kids throughout the healthcare system.
“My heart is overflowing with joy, gratitude and appreciation. I realized how important these events are to the kids and their mental well-being, but also to me and how lucky I am to love what I do,” she said. “These kids continue to help me grow and they all have a special place in my heart. I really do have the best job.”
Shriners Children’s locations that offer camps include Boston, Lexington, Northern California, Ohio, Portland, Salt Lake City, Texas and Twin Cities, among others.
Here is a look at some of the offerings from across the country.
Shriners Children’s wrapped up another season of camps designed to give patients the opportunity for extraordinary experiences and, most importantly, to just let kids be kids.
Shriners Children’s Boston
Each summer, Shriners Children’s Boston patients have the opportunity to attend the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp, which is offered by the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation. The camp provides an accepting and safe environment for kids aged 8 to 18 to enjoy a traditional outdoor camp experience among children just like them.
At Burn Camp, children from all over the world enjoy everything you might expect: campfires, hiking, fishing, archery, boating and a challenging ropes course. An all-volunteer staff is comprised of firefighters, a burn unit medical team, nurses, physical therapists, burn survivors and, most importantly, graduated campers who want to come back as counselors.
The goal is to build each child’s self-esteem and self-confidence so they are able to overcome their anxieties and adapt to their injuries for reintegration into their family and community life.
With a judgment-free zone, laughter, camaraderie, understanding and love, kids build skills to take into the world.
“Shriners has trusted us with the opportunity to unite their burn community with The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp family,” a colleague from Burn Camp shared. “A union that has allowed many, many children to enjoy a chance, year after year – until they are 18 – to just be a kid. And what does this result in? Friendships that last forever!”
Burn Camp 2022 was a great success. The kids were challenged on the ropes course. They cooled off on the water slides. Many bullseyes hit the archery target and the embankment beyond! Space was the theme this year, so a portable planetarium was brought on site and campers enjoyed two new programs: a survival course and an improvisation acting class.
Campers gathered around campfires at the end of the day at their respective cabins. A week of fishing, hiking, swimming and fun culminated with the annual dance/pizza party on Friday night with a DJ marking the end of another great camp year.
For more information, contact The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp at www.ctburnsfoundation.org or 203-878-6744.