Spring Family Camp
By Kim Wilson, Camp and Activities Coordinator
More than 160 people, including staff and volunteers, enjoyed Family Camp at Camp Twin Lakes over Mother's Day Weekend. Families arrived on Friday evening and were greeted by volunteers and staff to assist with luggage and check-in.
After dinner, the families participated in some icebreakers to get to know one another. Next, we went on a "Journey Around the World." Families were separated into 6 groups (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). Each group received a boarding pass and a passport. Destinations included Botswana, France, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Russia, and Egypt. Once the families had their passport stamped by each country the group returned to the gym to discuss the activity with the rest of the groups.
"Journey Around the World" is designed as a trip to introduce families to the type of bleeding disorder care that people from around the world receive. The goal is to raise awareness of the needs of people with a bleeding disorder in other countries. This program was developed by the World Federation of Hemophilia. Each country had a small and easy project to complete before the group could move on to the next country. The groups stopped in the dining hall for their in-flight snack as they made the tour of countries. The families seemed to enjoy their "Journey Around the World" and went off to sleep with sweet dreams and a sense of thankfulness that if they had to have a bleeding disorder, at least it was in the US where we have HoG and HTCs to help them.
On Saturday morning we broke the families up into age groups for educational sessions. The adults attended the Advocacy session led by our resident Director of Training, Research and Advocacy, Jeff Cornett. Jeff covered the details of the new health insurance reform law and gave participants a handout from Families USA that discussed the main points. Clients were encouraged to talk to their HoG social workers about insurance issues, particularly if they think they might benefit from the new law.
The 7-17 year olds went in the Gym to play "Life-size Game of Life." Shannon Veronesi, HoG's Health Educator, designed this game. Carpet tiles were donated by Great American Flooring to be used as the game board pieces. We built game pieces that look like people and buildings to represent each station in the game. Participants were divided into color teams. Each team started by either going to college or going straight into a career. Each team went through the game, earned paychecks, got married, had children, and ended the game in retirement. Along the way, they might get in a car accident (this required a stop at the Hemophilia Treatment Center), earn LIFE tiles by owning a gym membership which required a stop at the Gym to work out, and visit the insurance company where they had to pick a policy. Throughout the game, the banker at the bank kept track of their loans, debt, monies earned, and assets earned.
The families came back together to play the Fitness Game which is a life-size board game relay. With every roll of the dice, each team had to complete a series of exercises or answer questions about bleeding disorders. Everyone went to lunch from there.
Afternoon activities offered were paddle boats, archery, biking, fishing, arts & crafts, tennis, mini golf, cooking, and the pool. The most popular activities were paddle boats, cooking and archery. The families loved spending the afternoon together and enjoyed the activities offered.
After dinner, we hosted an ice cream social and family game night. There was ice cream, chocolate and caramel syrup, marshmallows, M&Ms, sprinkles, cherries, and whipped cream for topping. Yum! After the ice cream social, we moved into the Media Center for Family Game Night. There were all kinds of board games and card games set up and bingo was set up in the Media Center kitchen with prizes. Arts & Crafts was also open for those who wanted to create a gift or a card for their mom for Mother's Day.
On Sunday morning after eating breakfast together, we ended the weekend with a raffle drawing. Families earned raffle tickets by participating in the educational sessions and for completing the weekend evaluation. The families, staff and volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Families shared that they always have a great time and enjoy meeting and sharing with other families. It was a very informative and fun weekend. They learned about bleeding disorders and spent quality family time together. This was an amazing collection of families because of the way they reached out in the spirit of support and fellowship.