July 21, 2024
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July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Kids of Courage Holds Special Summer Camp for Children and Young Adults With Medical Challenges

This past August, Kids of Courage went on an unbelievable 8-day summer adventure to Washington, DC and Virginia with 110 medically challenged children and young adults. Over 300 dedicated volunteers, counselors, doctors, paramedics and nurses selflessly gave their time and energy. A friend and I were privileged to join Kids of Courage to spend time with the campers and staff. Wasn’t it an amazing trip?

Oh, wait…you weren’t there? Hmmm, hold on while I adjust this time machine over here…Ok here we go. Welcome to the Kids of Courage trip! We’re glad to have you as a guest. Smile! Emoji’s the theme and they’re everywhere.

So, day one gets right into things. Coach buses loaded with campers from all over the US, Canada and Israel make their way straight to Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. The campers and staff all had passes to avoid waiting in long lines and to receive extra attention. After a busy day filled with rides, roller coasters and the delicious smell of chocolate, everyone is later welcomed into a beautiful hotel in Virginia. Hungry? There’s a 24-hour tea room packed with a variety of snacks and drinks. There’s a friendly atmosphere, warm hotel workers and counselors devotedly tending to the needs of their campers at all times. Rotators are available to give the counselors some time to recharge. Let’s say hello to some of the medical staff that came along. These dedicated professionals come on every trip bringing specialized medical equipment that includes oxygen tanks, chemotherapy and medications.

Day two, and it’s off to Washington, DC. Check out all the interesting exhibits in the Smithsonian museum and then…wow, we’re actually in the White House! We meet the president’s secretary who tells us some interesting things.

Day three is Shabbat, a great time to rest up and meet all the amazing people on the trip. Enjoy the tasty meals, inspiring speeches from campers, games, a beautiful havdalah and an amazing concert.

Day four, don’t forget your camp T-shirt, it’s another action-packed day. A fun bus ride takes us to King’s Dominion amusement park.

Couragers enjoy thrilling rides, cool shows and prizes.

Day five, rain? A little rain won’t stop us! We go to a huge mall with Dave and Busters, Toys R Us and plenty of room to dance.

Hmm, looks like we’re running out of space and have to speed things up. Other amazing activities include jet skiing! Learning about and trying FBI training in Silver Eagle Group Range. More concerts, fun and a special goodbye banquet.

Before we leave, let’s talk to some campers. Going with Kids of Courage is a dream that literally becomes a reality as they can be involved in these and other amazing activities. With the help of Kids of Courage, these children have the opportunity to build confidence through recreational activities that help them face their challenges throughout the year. You listen as campers say how they feel comfortable among their friends in the program because they can relate to others going through similar situations. One of the campers gave an inspiring speech about how he became paralyzed from the waist down after getting into an accident. He is a photographer and wanted to take a picture from the top of a tall pole. He fell and was rushed to the hospital. He uses a wheelchair to get around and was given a prosthetic arm. He says that what made him look forward to living life was hearing about Kids of Courage and their traveling camp for children and young adults with disabilities. He was inspired by other campers that had disabilities yet were so positive and capable. He now continues to take pictures, is full of life and good humor, and speaks to inspire other people as well.

One camper states that the highlight of Kids of Courage for her is the main summer concert. Another says, “miracles happen with Kids of Courage.”

Well, it’s time to say goodbye. Campers and staff give emotional farewells. They’re already looking forward to future adventures. The group explores different states so that the camp is always a new, exciting experience every summer. Many campers and counselors keep in touch throughout the year. Some get together in Kids of Courage’s programs during the year (such as a ski trip, Hannukah party and marathon).

So, welcome back to the present. Wasn’t it an amazing trip?

All services provided are free to the children. The mission of Kids of Courage is “conquering illness through adventure.” To be a part of this important mission, to create smiles for the Couragers and to donate please contact Esther Cohen, M.S.Ed., Kids of Courage, coordinator at 917-921-4276 or [email protected].

By Esther Cohen

 

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