Special Love’s hallmark program, Camp Fantastic, is frequently referred to by the campers as “the best week of the year” and this year was no different. We hosted 100 pediatric oncology patients ages 7-17 in mid-August at the Northern VA 4-H Center in Front Royal, Virginia. Camp Fantastic gives the kids everything that makes a traditional camp so fun, like canoeing, sports, crafts, swimming, and campfires. There were also some new, fun activities such as karate, two escape rooms, and virtual reality gaming. All big hits with kids of every age.
While most of the campers looked (and acted) like “normal”, healthy kids, a third of them were on active treatment for their cancer. Thanks to our partnership with the National Cancer Institute – part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – we were able to administer treatment at camp, which allows the kids on active treatment to fully participate in the week. Our dedicated volunteers also provided 1-on-1 care as needed, so even the neediest children had the chance to try new activities and feel normal again.
Imagine the excitement of our campers as they arrived at camp on Sunday afternoon with a police escort and nearly 50 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Following check-in, camp tours, and refreshments, campers hit the pool and enjoyed the first of more than a half dozen meals sponsored by area civic clubs throughout the week. While our days were filled with fun and educational classes, the evenings featured themed adventures and campfires where we sang and shared talents. Campers headed off to their rooms in time for a little “bunk talk” and a good night’s sleep.
Special thanks to our wonderful med staff, program volunteers, and the countless groups and individuals who came together for the common purpose of providing smiles and laughter to kids who really need them.
Check out our Fantastic photos and plan to join us at a family camp or teen/young adult outing. Visit www.specialove.org for more information on Camp Fantastic or any Special Love program or email Angela Ashman, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.