In 1989, eight-year-old Gina Yocum attended Camp MASH in Wisconsin for the first time. She had so much fun at JA Camp that she went back the next summer – and then 28 more after that. For the first 10 years, Gina attended camp as a camper; this June will be her 20th year as a staff member.
From Mobile, Alabama to the shores of Waialua, Hawaii, the Arthritis Foundation is proud to host camp programs for kids with juvenile arthritis and related childhood rheumatic diseases. Camp programs provide a safe and secure camping experience for both children and teens. Some locations also offer family camps – an opportunity for the entire family to attend together.
Katy Carter of Los Angeles says, “When our daughter Rhiannon was seven years old, she wanted to meet other kids with arthritis. She wanted to know that she wasn’t alone, that there were other kids just like her. This was a defining moment in our lives. Of course she wanted to meet other kids. Of course she was feeling isolated. She had this strange disease that none of her friends had ever heard of and didn’t understand. As her mother, I wanted to make everything perfect for her little life and protect her from the reality of her diagnosis. But, I couldn’t be that friend her age that ‘gets it’.”
Continue reading Juvenile Arthritis Camps: Why JA Camp is an Experience You Can’t Miss
Rachel Hadel was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile arthritis (JA) in March 2011 at age 14. “When I was diagnosed I didn’t know what I was getting into, it was very overwhelming,” says Rachel. The feelings of being overwhelmed and not knowing anyone else with JA inspired Rachel to become involved with the Arthritis Foundation. Her involvement eventually led her to a role as a counselor at Camp Joint Adventures, a JA camp in the Kansas City area.
Continue reading From Juvenile Arthritis to JA Camp Counselor – Rachel Hadel Inspires Others