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The outdoor experiences that can only come from the camping experience are about more than fun and adventure. For the kids and teens at Camp Ailihpomeh, it's also about discovering your physical and emotional strength and forming a lifelong sense of self and independence.
Ailihpomeh is hemophilia spelled backwards, but its meaning is all about moving forward. The mission of camp is to serve the needs of boys from age 7 to 17 with bleeding disorders, providing a camping experience for a group of children who have traditionally been excluded from participating in other summer camp programs. Experiencing daily adventures in a natural outdoor setting strengthens each camper's ability to cope with the daily physical and emotional challenges with a positive emphasis on what is possible, despite any limitations imposed by their bleeding disorder. Here, boys with bleeding disorders meet other kids who really know what they deal with on a daily basis, creating an additional support structure and a foundation for living with this lifelong chronic illness. The camp experience gives these children the latitude to just be kids and to gain independence within a safe environment with professionals who understand their needs.
The staff is comprised of experienced medical personnel from hemophilia treatment centers in Texas. Other staff includes volunteers from families and friends of the hemophilia community, adults with bleeding disorders and people from the hemophilia industry. Some of these volunteers are graduates of the Camp Ailihpomeh Leadership Program.
A volunteer medical staff provides medical supervision. There is an onsite medical building that houses doctors, nurses, and any other medical staff for the campers during their week-long stay. Physicians and nurses provide for the medical needs and routine care of the campers, volunteers and staff. Campers receiving prophylaxis are greeted by the nurses starting at 6 a.m. each day to start the factor infusion process. Self-infusion education is offered to all eligible campers who have received permission from their parents. These children are taught by the nurses to master this skill throughout the week.
Camp Ailihpomeh is held at Camp John Marc in Bosque County, Texas on acres and acres of wide open spaces. When the campers arrive on Sunday afternoon they are assigned to a cabin of 8 campers based on age with 2 counselors. Here, we don't focus on what campers can't do, it is all about what they can do, including:
Open to boys age 15-17, the goal of the Leadership program is to provide a teens a way to develop the necessary skills and qualities to find their highest potential; to discover their value not only at camp but in their families and communities. Members of the program will help with campers, assist the staff and participate in community outreach. As a team they will accomplish very difficult tasks like getting the entire team over a 14-foot wall or through the ropes challenge course. The outcome of the Leadership Program for these young men is to gain confidence, inner strength and a sense of belonging to community.
For Camp Ailihpomeh info and application email FortWorth@Camp-Ailihpomeh.org.
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