Our discussion began when I asked the kids to draw a picture of a tick. After learning about identifying ticks, the dangers associated with being bitten by one, and how to remove a tick, the campers jumped into a lively “tick knowledge” jeopardy game.
Before the week was over, the nurses, staff members, and myself, were able to see just how excited the kids were to put their newfound knowledge into action. On the 5th day of camp, a few LSS donors came to visit. One donor was in line to get lunch when one very observant camper spotted what looked like an insect on the donor’s back. The camper, Alana*, called her friend over to help her figure out just what this little critter was. Bella* exclaimed “Is this a tick? Let’s look at it!” Alana gently removed the bug with her napkin while Bella added, “oh, did you get the head? Let’s look at it close to make sure!” These little campers were so happy to put their expertise to use and felt empowered to do so.”
This is the account of one of our nurses who volunteered with our children at Youth Haven Kids Camp. Youth Haven camp is a week-long sleep away camp for children aged 7 to 14 who are affected by HIV, either because they, or a family member, are living with the condition. These camps work to fight the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS while allowing campers to learn about health and growing up within a supportive environment. This year, student nurses from Montgomery College volunteered their time to distribute medicine, provide first aid, and prepare and deliver lesson plans. After her experience, she wrote to us saying:
“I have realized that when children attend Youth Haven, they are able to shed their fears and be who they truly are without judgment. I can’t wait to volunteer again so I can see how their self-love, confidence, and curiosity have grown even further. I’m certain that Alana, Bella, and the other campers will carry these exciting moments with them throughout their life and I am honored to be part of the process.”
Youth Haven, like all LSS/NCA programs, relies on your support. To learn more about the program and make a donation today, please visit our website.
*Name has been changed.