Whether it’s chasing frogs, scaling the climbing wall, or arts and crafts, everything about the Albert and Ann Deshur JCC Rainbow Day Camp seems usual — u ntil you learn about the campers . Summer camp is considered a rite of passage for many children, but we often forget that it can be inaccessible to boys who are sick or living with children with disabilities .
Designed for children with medical conditions that require special attention, like cancer or sickle-cell disease, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, camp keeps nannies and doctors on personnel so the minors truly have the best risk at “getting to be a kid for a day” for two days each year.
Siblings, who can sometimes be overlooked when their brother or sister needs more attention or charge, are also invited.
They get the chance to totally let loose, job opportunities they don’t ever have when medical statutes are high and private clique isn’t ever an option.
Only child? No difficulty — they can bring along a BFF.
“We’re used to dealing with a spectrum of needs for each boy, ” says Rainbow Day Camp director Lenny Kass.
Taking each kid’s unique challenges into account, the camp is committed to creating an experience that grants any girl in attendance to participate , no matter their limitations .
But can a single clique event truly affect the kids, or is it exactly fun and games?
While an illness like cancer are actually crush a child’s feeling, making acquaintances at camp and embracing brand-new know-hows helps many of the teenagers walk away find lighter.
“There was a child in the clinic[ who didn’t] addres much, ” Kass recollected. “He would scarcely talk at all. Here at camp …[ we] literally could not continue him quiet.”
There are many storeys just like that, of kids who left Rainbow Day Camp with an outlook very different from where they embarked. And that’s the sorcery of a clique like this — these boys are more than their illnesses, and creating a opening for them to be themselves can do wonders.
Dr. David Margolis, a regular fixture at the camp , noted that it’s not only the kids who experience these alterations either. “This is soul food for the staff, ” he said .
“Some have gone on to become medical students and tenants here.”
Parents, more, find delight in considering their children come out of their shells, living as children instead of as “patients.”
As passionate as he is about supporting teenagers with cancers, Kass and his team are still invested in a future where a target like Rainbow Day Camp won’t be needed.
“We’d never have to have a camp because there’d be no minors with cancer, ” he said. “I hope it will be in my lifetime.”
For now, he’s content with “making even one child’s day phenomenal.”
Making certain differences in someone’s life can be as simple as that.