I love summer time and everything about it, especially summer camp. Summer camp provides children with a fun, safe environment to learn new activities, experience new friends, and reinforce academic skills.
Growing up as a child living with sickle cell disease, summer camp was one of the few activities that made me feel normal. I lived in multi-generational household and my grandmother was the larger-than-life figure that ran our home. Keeping me healthy, close to her, and in the house seemed to be her main goals in life. However, she seemed to be a bit more lenient in the summer allowing me to stay up a little later and I was allowed to attend the neighborhood recreation center camp. We played outside daily, did arts and crafts, had spelling and math bees, played board games and jacks, went on field trips, and played in the sprinklers.
When I was looking for a way to expand the program services of Destiny Despite Sickle Cell, developing a summer camp was my first inspiration. Specialty health camps became more available in the 1980’s and 90’s. However, by the mid 2000’s camps for children with sickle cell no longer existed in Baltimore. Sickle Cell Fun in the Sun Summer Day Camp was born in 2009 out of my desire to spread the joys of summer camp to all children especially those with sickle cell disease or trait, their siblings, and children of adults with the disease.
Camp is a simple way to help youth retain some academic information, participate in new activities, enjoy play, and stay out of trouble. Consider these simple tips when choosing a summer camp for your child: fun camps are great because they usually provide a variety of activities; specialty camps are great for children with special health, emotional, or academic needs; encourage your child in a new activity by choosing a different camp than previous years; and, finally, it does not have to break the bank, choose a camp that fits your family’s financial needs ask about scholarships and sibling discounts. Sponsor a needy child if you do not have camp age children. It can be an important influential character building activity and lots of fun.