We walked in the rain, talked in the rain, laughed in the rain, cried in the rain but mostly we DANCED in the rain at the Dreams Can Come True 2013 Craniofacial Family Camp. This year was met with many challenges that we were ready for!
252 people attended the camp! Forty craniofacial families registered to attend camp. 15 new families came to meet others hoping to gain support and encouragement for their child and themselves. Many needed just a simple smile or a hug.
Our children today do not know how good they have things in their life. The message we have for the volunteers is to take time to smile at someone that needs one, talk rather than text and step into a world that is not all about you. This volunteer message gets harder each year but with the help of parents who want their children “to get it” …we make an impact. This year we had 30 new volunteers and 40 that came back from years past because they “get it” for our kids. There is no experience like this camp to humble you in life. To make you realize how lucky you are if only you open your eyes and step into the camp world of basic life with nothing electronic. The rain came and our volunteers stayed strong. From the words of one volunteer, “if they can do the stuff I need to be here to help.” They were wet, cold and smiling. It takes time for the young people of today to realize its ok to be silly and laugh out loud.
Once again the dad to dad time was held on Friday evening while mom to mom is on Saturday
after lunch. Both events bring value and open conversation between parents of some of the most wonderful children. The fears they share with each other are real and ones that only they experience. The children will be fine but mending a parents heart who thinks they are being punished or did something wrong may take a lifetime. Camp gives them an opportunity to get support from each other.
This year we used ALL areas of the camp. All tents and cabins, the cooks cabin, the infirmary, The directors cabin, the staff house, the handy man cabin and the office were all used for sleeping and a variety of activities. The lake was used for canoeing and fishing, yes in the rain. Horse activities were moved inside the barn and the kids rode. Pooh Corner and the back deck of the dining hall were used to make crafts and the luggage depot was used to set up archery! The large dolphin slide, bungee jump and climbing wall were all in the field of fun. We even had a hay ride with a tarp cover thanks to David and Donna. Yes we had a bonfire and sang songs, roasted marsh mellows and did I mention we had rain! The dining hall became our gathering place for meals, games and the making of many new friends. The meals were plentiful and due to the rain, they ate and ate and ate! Relay races and team games were played by all volunteers and families while the moms had their time. The “minute to win it games” proved to one of the biggest hits and enjoyed by all.
Each year as the numbers grow we have still been able to obtain contributions to help offset the cost. Forty pounds of chicken is donated by Linn and Ben Chill each year. OLPH school holds a food drive to gather many items to include cheese puffs, snack cakes, juices, paper towels which helps offset some of the increase cost. Sumner Regional Hospital in Gallatin and Holly Sumnar collect Bingo Prizes. The Barn Nursery donates 2 flats of flowers and we buy 2 which also helps with the cost. Mayfield Dairy continues to offset cost by donating the milk and ice cream sandwiches. Sara Lee Bread Store donates all bread and buns. Girls Scouts bring 100 juice boxes and students from Notre Dame bring graham crackers for s’mores. Community involvement brings awareness which is what we want and need.
This camp brings more joy than words allow me to put on paper. I only hope that each of you on the board knows the impact this camp makes on the families, kids and volunteers rain or shine. This year was a true test. The kids taught us more than ever the importance of smiling in the rain. Parents had forgotten the fun moments as a child when jumping in a puddle was fun and ok, walking in the rain was something you may look forward to on a hot day. Our new families expressed such fun in the rain they can’t imagine how much more fun it will be without the rain.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart in allowing our family to continue to work together for the families of The Craniofacial Foundation of America. I am blessed to have danced in the rain with some many wonderful people at camp this year. The memories will leave a mark on so many for years to come.
Dreams are still coming true thanks to you!
CFA Camp Director