Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CAMP JAKE :: Color Them Beautiful

Counselors building relationships with campers 
CAMP JAKE / July 2012 :: In addition to physical, art and music therapy as well as multiple opportunities for physical activity, another goal of Camp Jake is to instill a strong sense of self-worth into each and every camper. This is especially critical in Haiti, where those with handicaps live in a part of the world that scorns those with physical limitations and often turns them into social outcasts. The sharp looks, long stares, ridicule and neglect can slowly creep into your being, diminishing your self-respect, and cause you to believe that you really are a second-class citizen.

The Red Thread Promise vehemently rejects this treatment of physically-challenged people, both young and old alike. Our goal is to make sure that each camper knows:

  • how valued they are as human beings
  • how loved they are by our team
  • how critical it is to love themselves for who they are

Our team treats campers with respect in a supportive environment throughout camp. They encourage campers to become more independent, teaching them how to successfully accomplish things for themselves. We talk to campers about their hopes and dreams and encourage them to work toward those goals. Camp Jake is not only about fun and learning, but also about nurturing and developing personal skills that will allow campers to progress into adulthood with the fundamentals necessary to live independent, successful and fulfilling lives.

Personal Hygiene
We all understand the value of keeping a clean body - not only from a physical aspect, but also to nourish a sense of self-respect and personal pride. At each camp, we will continue to teach the importance of personal hygiene, give a variety of products to each camper as well as ample instruction for their use. Included in kits are: a toothbrush, large tube of toothpaste, dental floss, Chapstick, personal wash cloth, full-size bar of soap and deodorant. It is a humbling experience to give these personal care kits to such grateful people. Their gratitude and thankful hearts are an inspiration to those of us who often take these simple things for granted.

Diana with her personal care kit and a snack
Dieumene helping Elisme apply Chapstick with her feet
Just a few of this year's personal care kits
Thank you to Kimmie (our young supply drive queen) and the women of Peace United Methodist Church for their donations of products to fill these bags. And a big thank you to counselor Laura for assembling the kits.

In what turned out to be a very successful program during our first camp, we offered an evening of spa treatments to campers. The team transformed one of the camp rooms into a spa-like suite, surrounding participants with soothing music, ambient lighting and a space absent of the spoken voice. Each interested camper was given a facial, massage and optional manicure.

Kelly showing Danika how to give Oxilus a massage
Sienna and Petera giving Solomon a facial and hand massage
This new experience was extremely profound for the participants. Their relaxation was so deep that many fell asleep during the treatment, murmuring in their dreams. Some left in tears, sharing how special they felt and how they were more relaxed than they ever recalled. These strong emotions confirmed for us the importance of relaxation and its healing qualities that far surpass the current popularity of spa treatments. We will work to teach the campers how to perform these tasks themselves, enabling them to enhance their own lives and the lives of others. 

Sonya, Siena and Kelly running the nail salon
The Red Thread Promise would like to thank Neill Corporation, the worlds largest distributor of Aveda products, for their support of this program and their generous donation of essential oils and lotions. We are grateful to Kathy and Fr. Scott Albergate for bottles of nail polish in every color imaginable. 

Yes, we still need your help! If you are interested in contributing to any part of Camp Jake, donations can be made via check or online. Please be sure to mark the memo line with "Camp Jake". For electronic donations, please use the PayPal button located on the right sidebar. If you prefer snail mail, our mailing address is at the top of the page on the right. No donation is too small and everything is appreciated.

Thank you!

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