This month Camp JoinTogether will open it’s doors to Maritime youth (8-17 years old) living with childhood arthritis for the sixth time. Since 2012, Camp has almost tripled in size as this year will welcome more than 90 children to have a summer experience that otherwise might not be possible.
Campers take part in a variety of specialized, low-impact activities including: canoeing, drama, cooking, environmental education, outdoor recreation, fine arts, boating, and most importantly, meeting others who share similar experiences. A team of medical professionals with experience in rheumatology are there 24/7 to ensure all campers are feeling their best.
“Camp JoinTogether changed my life,” explains past-camper 19-year-old Taylor. “It was the first time that I was surrounded by other people who understood life with arthritis. It created a space where we could talk openly, and learn from each other.”
In Canada, 24,000 children or 3 in every 1000, live with childhood arthritis. Although this number is staggering, children who deal with the pain often don’t personally know others who share their experience.
“When I was diagnosed, I struggled opening up to people because of the lack of understanding,” Taylor recalls. But at Camp there’s no pity, we all live with arthritis. Arthritis became this thing we could talk about and even laugh about. Having that experience made me so much more confident after I left.”
Taylor’s favourite part of camp? The campfires.
“The camp experience is all about the campfires and sing-alongs. I had never been to camp before because my health was always a concern so getting to experience that was really special,” Taylor remembers. “We would spend the days doing different activities and we had all had such a different journeys with arthritis, but at the campfire we came together as one family.”
“It’s just a really special place.”
If you are interested in Camp, would like more information, or would like to make a donation call Jone Mitchell at 902-429-7025.