The fourth and final camp was at Flying Horse Farms. Flying Horse Farms hosts medical camps throughout the summer for a variety of diagnoses, but the week I went to was dedicated to the siblings! Siblings are such an integral part of every family and they are always affected by a brother or sister’s diagnosis. In my Child Life Theory and Practice Class, we talked about family-centered care. To me, one of the most important parts of family-centered care consists of providing support and education to siblings.
This week was important because for one whole week, the healthy sibling was the center of attention! These campers had more psychosocial issues instead of medical concerns with the most prominent behavior being attention seeking. They were energetic, rambunctious and loud. I know that I ran and jumped around more at Flying Horse Farms than I had at any other camp I worked at. My average step count on my Fitbit was 14,000 steps!
I was surprised that the campers did not talk much about their sibling. I was with the middle aged kiddos, so it might have been different with the other age groups. My campers would mention that they had a sibling(s) and sometimes casually mention something about the sibling’s diagnosis or time in the hospital, but it was never discussed among the campers. It was as though this was their time to be normal kids and not have to worry. They could dump ice cold pitchers of water on my head, throw paint at their fellow campers and counselors and laugh as I screamed at the fish I dropped and couldn’t pick up because it was flopping around (although I didn’t drop ALL the fish and I actually kissed 3 of them. Sorry, no pictures. You’ll just have to take my word that I kissed them!) The campers were in the moment! Their joy radiated out in everything they did and it was beautiful!