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Spring Break Blogging 

Check out what Albright College students are up to over spring break.

 

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"A Different Way of Spring Breaking: A Firsthand Look into Camp Boggy Creek"

Justin Choate '14

3.14.13
CBC DAY 3

Today was quite an amazing day, but what day isn’t amazing when your are at Camp Boggy Creek? 

Our day started with a 7:00 a.m. wakeup call so we could get ready, and meet our campers at their cabins at around 7:25. From there we started our day doing one of five activities offered until breakfast at 8:00. Campers could either participate in Boating & Fishing, Wood Shop, Archery, Mini Golf, or free time in the Gym. My camper, Julian, decided he wanted to make a project in the Wood Shop.

Before I go any further with Julian’s wood project, let me talk about the Archery, and Mini Golf activities. As I have stated before, many of the campers are in wheelchairs, and do not have very good control over their bodies. With that being said, one would think that it is virtually impossible for them to partake in such events. Well, that is where you would be wrong! Camp Boggy Creek has found a way where the campers who are wheelchair stricken can do ANYTHING a camper who has full control over their limbs could do. Using PVC Pipe, a spring, and some strings, CBC has found a way to make a handicap golf club. The golf club gets attached to the PVC creation and holds it upright, and all the camper has to do is just hold on to the string, and then they back their chair up. Once they get to a spot where the golf club is parallel to the ground they let go of the string, and hit the ball into the hole. CBC has a beautiful 9-hole mini golf course, with waterfall included! The Archery range has basically the same concept as mini golf. The bow is attached to a large rod that is stationary in the ground. Once the arrow is attached to the bow the camper rolls their chair backwards, and releases a string attached to the bow string. The arrow goes flying towards the target as they try for a bullseye. It is pretty amazing to see the joy on the campers faces when they participated in an activity they normally couldn’t.

Ok, back to Julian’s project! On Sunday CBC will hold their annual Gator Grand Prix! Campers create wooden cars to race down a track in the gym. Julian wanted to paint his car purple, and when I say purple, I mean purple! The top, bottom, both sides, the back and all four wheels were purple (hmm... I wonder what his favorite color is?). We tested out the car, and it looks like it is going to fly down the track on Sunday morning! After breakfast we played around in the gym for a little bit, and then we went to dress up and get a professional portrait taken (the kids eat this up!). 

Lunch was served at around 12:30 where a bunch of singing and dancing took place... There is never too much dancing at CBC! Julian wanted to go back to the Wood Shop after the lunch to put the finishing touches on his race car, and you know what that means... more purple! We played around there for a couple of hours until we ate dinner at 6:00, but the event after dinner is what everyone was looking forward to.

The campers rushed over to the gym for a giant carnival! Games, and prizes, and music were all part of the event, and it is defiantly one of the most favorite activities CBC offers. There were tons of prizes for every camper, whether or not the won or lost, because at Camp Boggy Creek everybody is a winner! I was running a game called Football Frenzy, and if you have ever watched The Price is Right, it is a game just like PLINKO!. By the end of the carnival I had no voice, but it was well worth it. After we said goodnight to our campers, the Albright College gang stuck around for small group meeting. 

Our FSU friends joined us, along with two other FSU students, and it was pretty cool to hear their experiences at camp as they were both first time volunteers. I had a good time hearing about everyone’s day, and how they were adjusting, or readjusting to camp life. Nicole Huber told the group that she had already figured out what this place is all about. We put it in a sense of  “getting it.” Once you “get it” there is no turing back because the amazing love and joy of this place just surrounds and absorbs you. Hopefully we can get some new volunteers at our meeting tomorrow night!

However, some of the volunteers and camper’s parents are about to play some Ultimate Frisbee to end our night! I can not wait to see what the morning brings!

Much Love,

JC

3.13.2013
CBC DAY 2

MORNING

It has been a very long day! This morning I was up around 8:00 a.m., and went over to the dining hall for breakfast. Orientation began about an hour later in a theater that was donated to the camp by Universal Studios. Orientation consists of learning a lot of information on the kids we are going to be working with for the rest of the week. Many of the campers have been to Boggy before, and are seasoned veterans of the camp. It was great to hear many familiar faces will be returning this week. I found out that I will be with a camper named Julian. He is a favorite of CBC, and has been coming here for years! Julian uses a ventilator to help him breath at nighttime, and is stricken to a wheelchair when he is awake. He has limited speaking abilities, but he really knows how to make people laugh.

I have to go for now, but I will be back tonight after I meet and start playing with the kids!

EVENING

What a lovely day today has been. I met with Julian today, and to my surprise he actually remembered me from last year! It was an amazing feeling when I asked if he knew who I was, and he responded with, “YES!” Oh, and how do I forget the huge smile that was on his face when he answered! I also got to see my camper from last year, Trace. It was a joy to see his happy face, and you could truly see his excitement for the start of camp.

We had dinner in the dining hall with our families, and that was followed by a lot of dancing! Now, I know you’re thinking, “how does a child in a wheelchair dance?” Well, they love when you roll their chairs up to the dance floor and spin them in circles, and dance alongside of them. From dinner and dancing campers, their families and PALS took a short walk down to the campfire ring. The camp leaders put on a silly Rock ‘n Roll themed (Rock ‘n Roll is the theme for the week) skit for everybody explaining the rules of camp. The one most important rule of CBC is to “HAVE FUN!” and we are prepared to do a lot of that for the rest of this week!

After the day is over, and PALS are able to spend their free time, our Albright gang gets together and talks about the events of the day. It is a great way to catch-up with one another, and hear everyone’s thoughts. Two students from Florida State University joined our group, and shared their feelings on CBC. Tomorrow night we are going to invite the other volunteers to our meeting, and get their reactions on the camp, the kids and their families.

There are bunch of activities planned for tomorrow from a photo shoot, fishing and boating and swimming in the pool. Campers can also play in the gym, which was donated by the Orlando Magic, work in the wood shop or play some mini-golf. Every kid has the chance to participate in whatever activity their heart desires, and that is what makes Camp Boggy Creek so magical. These children have the opportunities of a lifetime, and that is no understatement. I can not wait to enjoy the remainder of the week with Julian and the rest of the kids, and I’m very excited for the first full day tomorrow! It’s a 7:00 a.m. wakeup call so I better go get some sleep. I will leave you with the song we sing after every evening before the campers head to bed:

Good-goodnight to you
The whole night through
May you dream of love, peace and hope
And may all of your dreams come true

Goodnight from Camp Boggy Creek!

JC

3.12.2013
CBC DAY 1

FINALLY! We made it to Camp Boggy Creek this afternoon, and we are the first group to arrive! After we were dropped of in our designated cabins (I’m staying in the cabin called 1 Star) unpacked, and settled in for a little while, the nine of us met up at the dining hall, and started walking around camp to enjoy the lovely weather. Our Albright group is a great bunch of people! We have Mike Miller (4th time at CBC) as our faculty advisor; Cynthia Lydon (4th time at CBC); Alice Klinert (3rd time at CBC); Lindsay Hendricks (2nd time at CBC); Elaina DiRenzo (2nd time at CBC); Helen Anderson (2nd time at CBC); Kelli O’Dell (2nd time at CBC); Nicole Huber (1st time at CBC), and of course myself enjoying my second year at Boggy.

Besides getting unpacked and situated in our cabins we did not do much today. It’s time to eat some dinner and rest up for the remainder of the week. Orientation begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., and the campers come around 4:00 p.m.

The goal for tonight is to get a good rest so I’m pumped and ready to go for the campers in the afternoon!

Until tomorrow,

JC

3.11.2013

Tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for all semester! Eight Albright students, myself included, and our staff advisor, Mike Miller, will be arriving at Camp Boggy Creek (CBC) in Eustis, Florida.  

Upon our arrival at the Orlando airport, CBC staff members will be waiting to pick us up out of baggage claim. From there it is about an hour drive north to camp. When we get to CBC we will get to put all of our baggage away in our cabins, and then meet with other volunteers from around the country. Once the campers and their families arrive, we will be non-stop until the end of the week. 

From Tuesday the 12th through Sunday the 17th we will be working with Kids on Ventilated Assisted Care (KOVAC) for CBC's Asthma and Airways week. Some of these kids have tracheas to assist them with breathing, and many of them are wheelchair-bound. For most, Camp Boggy Creek is the only vacation these kids and their families get. They start counting down the days until they return to CBC as soon as they leave on Sunday. 

This is my second time at Camp Boggy Creek, and I'm just as excited as I was the first time, if not more! I'm ready for a crazy, sleepless, fun and eye-opening, enlightening and life-changing week!

Stick with me this week and experience life at Camp Boggy Creek... I hope you're ready to Shake Your Bushy Tail

Until tomorrow,

-JC