This year the tremendously anticipated Camp For All 2U event debuted at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. For the first time patients and their families were able to experience summer camp in all hospitals this summer.
Camp For All 2U is a unique, barrier-free camp that brings the same eventful camping experience to patients and their siblings. Many patients may have missed out on those valuable experiences because they are in the hospital.
“We were thrilled to bring Camp For All 2U here for our patients and families in this community,” Cynda Parrish. “The main goal is to bring fun and normalization to our patients and families here. To have the opportunity to engage in camp-like activities instead of just sitting around at home or in their hospital rooms is exciting.”
For a week in June and July the program transformed areas of hospitals into camp spaces providing patients, who may not get the experience of camp outside of the hospital, the opportunity to enjoy a variety of games and activities.
Canoeing and the pie throwing events are a favorite at the Medical Center Campus every year, and West Campus introduced a robotics activity that engaged patients in a whole new way. The Woodlands campus provided activities including a mad science experiment, canoeing, arts and crafts and a hospital favorite, horses!
The horses were brought to The Woodlands hospital by a local organization called Inspiration Ranch which provides therapy horses with a similar purpose as our therapy dogs. Patients were invited to pet and paint on the horses, and ultimately enjoy a moment that maybe rare for most of them.
Inspiration Ranch is a Premiere Accredited Center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, which breaks down barriers and celebrates the inclusion of individuals with physical, emotional, and social disabilities. They offer exceptional equine-assisted therapy and activities in a loving Christian environment, providing hope and improving the lives of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.
“It’s a little different from therapy dogs when it comes to training because we have to put children on the horse, but the overall goal is the same, the therapeutic value.” President and CEO of Inspiration Ranch, MG Tindall said. “We know for a fact that being next to a horse is calming, they are non-judgmental, and they provided happiness along with and experience some children may not have had before. We appreciate Texas Children’s for allowing us to provide this for the patients.”
View photos from Camp For All 2U below.
Texas Children’s has been adapting camp activities for patients and their siblings in a hospital setting since 2016. Camp For All 2U West Campus was an expansion of the Medical Center Campus event and generously funded by community partner Wood.
“Camp For All 2U is just one of the many opportunities that we have available for patients and their families to enjoy this summer in the hospital,” Child Life Coordinator Mary Reddick said. “The Camp For All 2U staff makes it very easy to engage patients through a series of games and activities that they just love!”
After returning for the fourth consecutive year, an expanding to The Woodlands Campus this year, Child Life Specialist Sarah Herbek said that she is excited to see the program grow across the system and more patients are able to experience this amazing event.
“It feels great to know that Camp is reaching our Katy and Woodlands communities. Camp For All 2 U teaches kids what they can do, not what they can’t do,” Herbek said. “I love that Texas Children’s Hospital recognizes the importance of allowing kids to be kids and as we continue to grow as an institution, we still make it a priority to provide these types of programs for our patients and families.”
Although there is a pre-registration process, patients are more than welcome to join in on the fun if they happen to come across the camp activities at all campuses.
“Camp for All 2U brought tons of laughing and dancing from patients, smiles and excitement from employees, and tears from parents,” Parrish said. “We absolutely look forward to making this an annual event and provide more new and exciting things for the Woodlands community.”
For more information about Camp For All, visit www.campforall.org.