Herriman High School students making a difference
Every year young people who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as their siblings have the opportunity to attend Camp Hobe’. Camp Hobe’ gives youth the chance to participate in camp activities just like healthy children whose families are not affected by cancer.
Camp Hobé serves children from the Intermountain area (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada) or those being treated for cancer at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Camp Hobé helps children by addressing and relieving the psychological, social, and physical impact of cancer. Camp lets kids undergoing treatment do activities they cannot normally do; the high level of supervision and medical care provided makes this possible. Camp lets children be kids again and lets them spend time learning through play, returning kids to a peer group that they may have missed during cancer treatment. Throughout their time at camp, young people who attend Camp Hobé are allowed to play outside with other children, to discover the joy and freedom of being away from the confines of the hospital, and to temporarily displace the fears that the future holds. This is their chance—sometimes their only chance—to “just be kids” and to escape the grown-up realities they face everyday.
Janelle Nixon and Josh Wood will both be seniors this year at Herriman High School. Both Janelle and Josh volunteered at Camp Hobe’ for a week in the summer of 2010. I asked Janelle why she chose to volunteer at Camp Hobe’. Janelle mentioned the influence of her mom in choosing to volunteer at Camp Hobe’. She loves camping and doing volunteer work, and to her the camp was a great mix of these two, and she plans on volunteering next year.
Janelle Nixon had this to say about her volunteering experience: “For the most part, you could look at the group of 110 kids and you couldn’t tell it was anything but a normal summer camp filled with happy campers and staff. But as you look closer you will see the physical effects cancer has had on these small children. You will see the siblings of those who have passed on and those who continue struggling. You will see people with their own children, down to high school students volunteering a week of their vacation time to allow these sweet children to experience childhood to the fullest. As you look closer, you will see the love, passion and devotion that creates the heaven on earth we like to call Camp Hobe’. A t-shirt I saw said: ‘There isn’t a cure for cancer- but until there’s a cure, there’s camp!’ – and what a true statement that is. Camp is what keeps these kids going all year, and now, I’m looking forward to it again as much as they are!
Josh Wood made the following statement: “This year was my first year at Camp Hobe’, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Every day was a new adventure and that was my favorite part. I really liked knowing the fact that not only was I helping the kids, I was helping the parents also. They could just get away from it all and have the time of their lives at camp. In my group we had two kids with cancer. One of them was always climbing on me, and wanting me to hold him, so we decided that he was my little monkey. That was an amazing experience and I definitely look forward to working at Camp Hobe’ next year.
I asked Laura Nixon, Janelle’s mom, about how this experience has affected her daughter. She had this to say: “As I see it, Camp Hobe’ has helped my daughter see that serving others opens your eyes to challenging worlds you might never imagine. It’s helped her see the heroic ways that human beings deal with cancer, live with it and love life with it. Thank heavens for Camp Hobe’- for the joy and hope that it brings.”
Most of the people reading this have been touched by cancer in some way. It is great that there are places like Camp Hobe’ where youth can find some refuge from the storm that cancer brings into their lives. I am grateful for the spirit of volunteerism that is manifest in the youth of today and commend Josh and Janelle for stepping up and making a difference in the lives of young people.
For more information about Camp Hobe’ and its program, please visit their website at http://www.camphobekids.org/faqs.html or you may contact Chris Beckwith the Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org /801-631-2742.
To contribute financially or with in-kind donations, go to http://www.camphobekids.org/helphobe.html