INTERN CORNER: CAMP iHOPE
This week I took a trip to camp! In particular, Camp iHope that takes place at YMCA Collin County Adventure Camp. It was an absolute honor to visit this camp and get to spend time with the campers. Not only was this my first-time visiting Camp iHope, it was my first time at a camp in general. Therefore, I'm hoping you all enjoy a couple of highlights from my visit to such an amazing place.
For those of you that aren't familiar with this camp, Camp iHope is a non-profit that provides children with cancer and their siblings, ages 7-16, an opportunity to have the summer camp experience while being in medically safe environment. During their time at the camp the campers can build lifelong friendships, have the chance to feel “normal”, and be with others who are able to understand what they have or are going through. We have been partnering with camp iHope since 2011.
This 5-day camp provides the campers with the opportunity to enjoy their time as kids and build a “network of support”. At the campsite they have an array of activities to participate in! There’s a pool, a zipline, three lakes for fishing or canoeing, a 35ft climbing wall, challenge courses, Archery, a BB gun range, courtyards, paintball, and the new Alpine Tower! It’s like a whole mini community out there! As soon as I stepped foot on the campsite, I knew I was in for an adventure!
One of the campers that I got to talk to while being there has been attending the camp for 6 years and has been living with kidney cancer for 10 years. She has been attending the camp for a very long time and she said that she “loves” being a part of it. She expects to be cancer free next March and is looking forward to her first year in high school. Another one of the campers mentioned that he has known the camp staff for over 8 years. The relationships built in these camps are wonderful, and you can see the care they all have for one another. Some of the camp staff are former campers who’ve decided to come back to the camp and give back the love that was given to them.
My first time at a camp is one I will always remember, and it was thanks to the Y that I got to visit Camp iHope. YMCA Collin County Adventure camp provides a home for small part of the year to many camps that make a difference in these camper’s lives. It can provide a fun environment and allow for the camps to make their time on site their own. This week it was Camp iHope’s home and next week it’ll provide a new home for another great camp with an amazing mission. The campers are grateful towards the Y for helping them to enjoy being kids.
Impact Evaluation Intern