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 was something he was willing to embrace and bond with his peers over. Austin appreciated that camp helped him “become more social” and really connect to others.
Through one of his favorite activities, the ropes course, Austin strengthened his confidence in himself as well as his friendship and trust in others. Austin plans to maintain these friendships after leaving Camp Joy, and hopes to “connect with them on Facebook and Skype”.
Austin’s appreciation of friendship has proven to be a great example for other campers throughout the week: “I definitely want to come back next year—especially if the friends I made this year come back.”