Researchers at The University of Illinois conducted a study in 2017 regarding the effects of pediatric cancer on adult survivors. They found that adult survivors of pediatric cancer are five times less likely to get a job than their peers without cancer, and up to FIFTEEN TIMES less likely to go to college than their own siblings. We believe our responsibility for our campers continues long after they age out, so we developed the Counselor and Mentorship Program (CAMP).
CAMP features three components designed to decrease the effects of pediatric cancer on our campers as they enter the “real world.” The first component uses hands-on STEM education to generate interest in these subjects, inspiring our CAMPers to major in them in college. The second component teaches CAMPers basic life skills, including cooking, first aid, applying to college, doing laundry, and changing a tire. The third component gives our CAMPers real working experience, as they assist counselors in younger cabins each night and learn the various duties of being a counselor.
After a highly successful inaugural year, we are making some exciting changes in 2019. CAMPers will now attend for a three week program (as opposed to the two week program offered in 2018). This gives us even more time to introduce them to fantastic guest speakers, and also gives them more working experience in the cabins. We hope to welcome new speakers this year, including former camper Jay Riley, Director of Alumni at the University of South Florida-Sarasota. Jay will teach our CAMPers about the college application process and will even introduce them to current students, advisers, and professors!
CAMP is open to all 16 year old children with cancer, as well as 16 year old siblings. Our first year was a huge success and featured a great group of CAMPers, and we can’t wait to continue to build this program.