Camp SuperStarrs- a camp for special kids
Children with health problems find a summer haven in Fulton County for two weeks
“I am going to summer camp!” That is what Nathan Littauer Hospital wants every kid to be able to say, even those with medical conditions. And thanks to Camp SuperStarrs, that dream is coming true for many kids. This year, Nathan Littauer Hospital’s Camp SuperStarrs will be celebrating 33 years of bringing summer fun to children with health problems. The dates for this year’s camp will be July 16th to July 20th, and the second session will take place July23rd to July 27th. The camp is held at Woodworth Lake’s Boy Scout Camp.
The program, available to children between the ages of 5 to 14, was lovingly created by Wayne McNeil, and Dr. David V. Clough. Susan McNeil stated, “They wanted to give children with health problems the opportunity to go to summer camp like other kids.” And for 32 years Camp SuperStarrs has done just that. Campers, whose health problems include asthma, diabetes, eating disorders and other conditions, participate in typical summer camp activities such as fishing, arts and crafts, swimming, and field sports. Laurence E. Kelly, President and CEO of the Hospital agrees noting, “This program opens doors, and provides lasting friendships for children around this region. If you do not know about Camp SuperStarrs, you should. I could not be prouder of this program, and the commitment we have demonstrated to our region’s youth.”
Founded in 1979 the camp provides medical support and education to children in an Adirondack Camp. Hospital Spokesperson Cheryl McGrattan notes, “Last year, one parent said to me, ‘Camp SuperStarrs was the only time I slept all year, because I knew my son was having fun and under medical care.’” Sue McNeil added, “Camp SuperStarrs is pure magic!” In addition to the fun programs, children are educated about their health conditions helping them gain awareness about the causes and controls of their situation. Mostly children are encouraged to participate at any level while enjoying a host of summer activities. As a rule, children are called “campers” and never “patients”. The campers experience can have a lasting effect as Susan McNeil points out, “Many of the campers form friendships that last well into their adulthood. And some of camp counselors started coming to camp as children.”
“This year we will also be brining back our version of ‘Iron Chef and Chopped’. The children will be creating meals using secret ingredients for a panel of local judges. Last year it was a real hit with our campers.” stated Sue McNeil.
The camp is staffed with trained medical staff including a nurse and respiratory therapist from Nathan Littauer Hospital. “We couldn’t be as successful as we are without the Hospital’s support,” McNeil concludes. “The staff work very hard for two weeks making sure that the children are safe and happy from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. In addition to the staff who volunteer their time, the Hospital provides the food for the campers’ lunch and overnight stay.” Their one-week camping experience concludes with an overnight in tents that were donated by Ronald McDonald House.
For more information about Camp SuperStarrs call Susan McNeil at 773-5408.