News | Wednesday, October 24, 2012
This June, with sunny skies overhead and parents waving goodbye, children gathered at Any Baby Can for the annual trek to Camp Grey Dove. The camp is a project of Any Baby Can and hosts siblings of children in the agency’s Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Program. As campers lined up to get on the bus, one boy, Gustavo (pictured right), didn’t quite share the excitement of the group. When a staff member approached him and asked, “Are you excited for camp?” he replied with a shoulder shrug and, “My mom made me come.”
Camp Grey Dove is held at Peaceable Kingdom in Killeen, Texas, and has all the camp classics: swimming, a ropes course, nature classes, and a movie theater replete with pinball machines and a pool table. Underlying classic camp activities is a focus on therapy and helping kids cope with having a sibling going through cancer treatment, or having a brother or sister who has passed away. It didn’t take Gustavo long to fall in love with playing pool games, learning about trees and snakes, and getting up on the high ropes. He was an active participant and leader in therapy, doing well with both the therapeutic activities and discussing the loss of his brother. By the end of the week, he even joined a group to participate in the talent show.
Every year on the last day of camp, counselors vote for a boy or girl to be named Camper of the Year. The award is a fun way to recognize someone who has been a leader in camp activities, been helpful to other campers, and had a great attitude during the week. And wouldn’t you know it, Gustavo was their top choice. Campers cheered as Gustavo’s name was called, and after the drive home, he ran off the bus calling to his mom, “I can’t wait to go to camp next year!”