Many of us have memories of camp during childhood. Campfires, games, crafts, and more! What about kids who can’t go to camp because they are in the hospital? Camp Get-A-Well-A is here for them!
Camp Get-A-Well-A is a camp experience brought to children in the hospital. If kids can’t go to camp, they bring it to them! Executive Director JoLanne Hanson says, “At Camp Get-A-Well-A, we feel it’s important to recognize that children in the hospital need to not only have their medical needs met, but their social and emotional needs as well.”
The organization brings a five-day camp into hospitals so that kids undergoing a hospital stay can experience camp. They raise the money and donate it to participating children’s hospitals in the form of a camp! Camp is then offered free to all kids and families in the hospital. Hanson says, “Our prescription for seriously ill kids is a heavy dose of campfire sing-a-longs, s’mores, camp carnivals, tie-dying t-shirts, zoo visits and fun!”
Camp Get-A-Well-A currently partners with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in Minnesota.
It may be hard to imagine what a camp experience may be like for kids in the hospital. The Camp Get-A-Well-A website has several stories from kids who have attended camp. One is the story of Brittany who spent the last several months of her life receiving cancer treatments at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. She was able to spend a night acting like a typical teen girl at the camp’s Teen Survivor night. She laughed, sang, competed and enjoyed every minute of Teen Survivor especially when her tribe won the competition and retreated to their “cabins” for the evening. According to her mother, Camp Get-A-Well-A’s Survivor was the most fun Brittney had experienced in more than four months. Brittany passed away the weekend after camp ended. Find more camp stories here.
Camp Get-A-Well-A is for every child in the hospital regardless of age or diagnosis. They invite everyone to participate including siblings, parents and friends of the hospitalized child. They have served over 11,000 campers benefitting children and their families in Minnesota, Arizona, Texas and Pennsylvania since their founding in 1998. Camp events are free to all patients and their families. The camps are supported 100% by individual contributions, sponsorships, fundraisers and grants. All donations made to are tax deductible.
Individuals and groups can help Camp Get-A-Well-A in many ways, such as:
- Monetary donations to support camp expenses. For example, just $25 will provide Camper Memory Frames for 50 campers. A $1,000 donation provides T-shirts & Tye-Dye Kits for 200 campers.
- In Kind donations are also appreciated. Check out the organization’s wish list at www.campgetawella.org/wish_list.cfm
- If you live near a hospital served by the organization, you can also volunteer to help at camp.
- You may also contact the organization directly through their website to see if other volunteer opportunities are available at the time.