Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Juvenile Arthritis Camp Colorado

We had a ridiculously busy summer! And now here we are, already launching into fall. My oldest son has started kindergarten (?!?!), I've had the opportunity to start writing for a couple of great new publications, and I'm just about 19 weeks pregnant with baby #3 - all of which might help explain why I still haven't shared here about my experiences at JA Camp Colorado this summer!!

Volunteering my time and energy at JA Camp Colorado is honestly one of the most meaningful things I do all year long. I didn't grow up with JA myself, but I did get diagnosed with RA at a relatively young age - and so I like to think that I have life experience and understanding that would be relevant to these kids. One part of camp that I really like to contribute to is "Talk with the Doc," which are small group discussions that give campers the opportunity to really talk with doctors, nurses, adults living with arthritis (like me!), and each other about life with arthritis. In my group the kids wanted to discuss the search for a cure, the reality that many of us will need lifelong treatment, tips for making shots easier to deal with and getting over flares, whether stress makes arthritis worse and how to deal with it, trying different diets, and growing up to do different types of jobs with arthritis.

I love that JA Camp gives these kids an opportunity to meet and spend time with other children who are facing similar challenges. At at the same time, I love that camp offers the opportunity to just be kids and have fun with no judgment whatsoever. I don't think I'm really doing justice to how much of an impact the camp experience can have for kids living with JA, so instead I'd like to let some of the junior counselors share in their own words!! Not sure whether I'll be able to make it to camp next year with a tiny baby in tow, but I certainly want to do whatever I can to continue supporting these amazing kids - who are growing into pretty phenomenal young adults!

1 comment:

Rick Phillips said...

I have never been to a JIA, but I was up at a diabetes camp a few years ago. I learned so much and I have been at diabetes for 43 years. Yeah, one of my favorite times as well.