Emily has been coming to Joy for 11 consecutive years, not even her family’s brief relocation to Oklahoma could separate her from her friends at Joy. Emily attributes her development of self respect to the lessons taught to her by former Camp Joy counselors: “The most influential people in my life are these counselors. They taught me self-respect and respect for other people.” Originally coming to Camp Joy through Camp Wekandu (a camp for juvenile arthritis), Emily decided that she wanted to become a CIT with the Fostering Success program in order to “make the experience special [...]
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So far CJ2020 has created 23 blog entries.
Encouraging Others Shaya Shaya is a 15 year old resident of East Walnut Hills in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was Shaya’s fourth year at Camp Joy, and she has been enjoying the activities and learning new things ever since. “Each year was different. There are new activities every year and the activities have gotten better. One thing I’ve learned istobemyself. It’seasierformetobearoundnew people now.” Shaya remembers being shy in her first two years as a camper, but becoming more confident throughout her third year and now in her fourth year, becoming a leader. Shaya attributes her new confidence to the older campers [...]
Building Confidence Ben Through Camp Joy’s Fostering Success program, a camp for youth in foster care, campers like Ben become more confident and outgoing. Initial hesitations were tossed aside once Ben had a chance to settle into his cabin and get to know his fellow campers: “I was initially scared because I didn’t know anybody, but I got here and everyone got along really well and we were all able to bond in our cabins.” […]
Living An Active Life Ralph This year marks Ralph’s third year as a camper at Joy. Throughout Ralph’s camp experience he has overcome homesickness and enjoyed all of his favorite camp activities. “Don’t be afraid to go after what you want in life, just give it a try and do it,” said 15 year old Ralph, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. Ralph came to Camp Joy with Healthworks, a camp to combat childhood obesity. Ralph credits his success at camp to the counselors that he has had over the years: “At first I was homesick because I didn’t know what [...]
Endless Possibilities Taylor Taylor started coming to Camp Joy with the Wekandu program, a week- long camp for kids with juvenile arthritis. “I looked up to the older girls at camp when I was younger because they pushed through their arthritis and allowed me to do the same and see that it was possible.” After 10 years as a camper, Taylor returned to Camp Joy this summer as a counselor in training to influence the lives of younger campers and give them an experience similar to that of her own. This experience helps Taylor feel “more empowered” and “more responsible”, [...]
Challenge By Choice Ayanna Through the support of her friends, 12 year old Ayanna was able to conquer her fear of heights and learn the importance of team work. A first time camper and member of Boys and Girls Club of Newport, Kentucky, Ayanna had never experienced Camp Joy’s Polaris ropes course. Ayanna attributes her success on the course to her fellow campers: “I felt challenged but moved past my fear of heights by telling myself I could do it and the support of my friends helped a lot too”. […]
Overcoming Grief Maggie The feeling of accomplishment and confidence is one echoed by many campers, but especially by 13 year- old Maggie, a 2nd year camper from northern Kentucky: “Camp taught me that if I set my mind to it, I can accomplish anything that I want and that makes me feel amazing.” Maggie first came to Camp Joy through a program for grieving youth. After the loss of her mother, Maggie was encouraged to come to camp by one of her teachers and a former Camp Joy staff member. Now in her second year at Camp Joy, Maggie is [...]
A Healthy, Happy, Heart Kelsey Kelsey comes to Camp Joy with the Joyful Hearts program, a program offered to children with heart conditions: “I have been coming to camp for three or four years, but this week has been the best. This week I’ve been really happy”. This reflection from 10-year- old Kelsey expresses a common sentiment from Joy campers, one of pure excitement and happiness. Camp Joy allows Kelsey to meet other children with her same condition, Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome, and many other similar conditions: “It has been really cool because I met a friend with the same condition [...]
A Helping Heart Lauren Sixteen year-old Lauren has learned to embrace and welcome unexpected change in her life. An eight-year camp veteran, Lauren first started coming to Camp Joy with Camp Joyful Hearts, a program for children with existing heart conditions. During a routine check-up at age two, doctors discovered Lauren has Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), essentially a hole in one’s heart between the organs various chambers. Since her diagnosis, Lauren has gone through treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the very place that referred her to Camp Joy. Over her eight years at Camp Joy Lauren has been a camper, [...]
Fostering Friendship Austin Austin is a 14 year old camper from Cincinnati, Ohio. Austin is a camper with Camp Wekandu, a program for kids with juvenile arthritis. The programs and activities at Camp Joy allowed him to spend time with new friends without worrying about his condition. “I really liked meeting new people—everyone has the same condition and it has been fun listening to what everyone else has to go through, too.” Shy at first, Austin came out of his shell and developed friendships with other campers and even counselors. No longer was arthritis something to shy away from, it [...]