Camp for kids with bleeding disorders is now back in operation


By Selina Guevara, WSBT 22

A local summer camp is back in full swing this year after being online last season.

While being back at camp is a joy for most kids, it can be lifesaving for some who go to one specific camp to learn medical skills they’ll need their whole lives.

We visited a unique section of the YMCA’s Camp Crosley in Kosciusko County.

Being back at summer camp again means finally conquering the obstacle course at the lake. Or hoping for a bullseye out on the range. But even a full day isn’t enough to wear these campers out.

“We go to sleep at 10, that’s not late enough.”

For the girls of the Commanche cabin

“We like to tell scary stories.”

The unscheduled activities are their favorite part.

Like doing yoga right before bed.

But the bond these girls have is goes beyond just sharing a bunk bed.

“I have sickle cell.”

Everyone in this session of Camp Crosley has some form of blood or bleeding disorder.

“You learn a lot more about it because there’s other people that have it too and then there’s doctors that teach you more about the things that you don’t know,” said Corine Dolley, camper.

None of their friends back home really understand their diseases. But here they don’t need to fill in people who don’t know.

“You’re going to have conversations about it instead of just having to answer questions about it.”

Medical professionals from the Indiana Hemophilia center created this camp because a lot of other places may not take these kids.

“They probably would not feel comfortable with our kids coming there just because of the unknown and the medical issues,” said Jennifer Maahs, nurse practitioner at Indiana Hemophilia Center and director of the camp.

They teach the campers how to manage their illness and have a challenge called the big stick—learning how to stick themselves in case of an emergency.

“So you learn how to put the needle in, I’m still scared to do that, but they make it easier for us to learn how we can do it ourselves and we can be brave and strong,” said camper Britney.

For Britney this camp means meeting new friends and is less isolating.

“Other people don’t have my bleeding disorder so it’s hard to communicate with them because they will ask questions like why don’t you do this stuff, why can’t you do that and it’s hard, but I can do stuff I can do and I don’t have to be left out.”

And she’s not left out from the lake life

Their invisible illnesses leading to a stronger bond and a sense of normalcy that lasts longer than just the one week each summer.

Kids usually age out of the camp by the time they’re 16 but because it went virtual last year. They had 17-year-olds come back so they could experience the last year that they missed out on when they went fully online.

Source: WSBT TV

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