By David Walters,
This past August, I spent six days and five nights as a counselor at Camp Head Strong, the very first camp for kids with hydrocephalus. This was the second year of the camp, and judging by everyone’s excitement, I think it was the most successful camp of all!
Campers ranged in age from 10 to 17, and the older ones worked as Counselors-In-Training. The kids really enjoyed participating in all the activities, such as arts and crafts, Ga Ga, fishing, tennis, and theatre. Campers seemed to really enjoy the campfire that we had on the first night, as well as the talent show and dance at the end of camp. The performances at the talent show were truly amazing and camp directors said it was the best talent show they had seen all summer!
From my perspective as a camp counselor, I could tell that the kids all formed great friendships. The kids in my bunk, which I ran along with another co-counselor, were always having fun – even the ones who were shy at first. By end of the week, it was as if the campers had known each other for years.
It was especially gratifying to see kids return to Camp Head Strong. It meant that they, and their parents, felt safe at the camp and loved the experience enough to want to return. I also got to see how much the kids had grown in the past year.
The camp is located at the Blue Ridge School, which is in beautiful St. George, Virginia. There are medical staff on site 24/7, and trained counselors in the bunks. It’s important to mention that the camp is just 30 minutes from Sentara East Rockingham Health Center, 40 minutes from UVA Children’s Hospital, and 45 minutes from Sentara RMH Medical Center. However, no one has ever had to go to the hospital during their stay at the camp!
This camp was truly a blast and I know it will be even more fun next summer. However, to ensure that the camp can continue next summer, we need to grow attendance. So, if you or someone you know is living with hydrocephalus and want to have fun and form lifelong friendships in a safe environment, I highly recommend you attend Camp Head Strong!
Camp Head Strong is one of several camps for children with chronic health conditions offered by Brainy Camps, in partnership with Children’s National. The camp usually runs between July and August.