Monday, June 24, 2013

CAMP JAKE: Spotlight on spa night

DeeDee sporting her relaxation skills with a blind camper
Photo by Howard Chen
Camp Jake has finalized its programming line-up for July 2013! Campers will continue engaging in creative art and music therapy, aquatics and sports activities throughout the week.

In addition, counselors will introduce boating, sewing, yoga, cooking and fishing! These new activities encourage independence and self-reliance, improve both short- and long-term health, and expose campers to potential career paths, all vital aspects to the Camp Jake experience.

Casey giving one of MANY facials at the July 2012 session
Photo by Howard Chen
Also on the docket is 'Spa Night', one of the ever-popular activities that has continued since our first camp in January 2012. During this activity, campers enjoy a rare treat - complete relaxation, even if only for a bit.

Some may question why this is a part of our programming. They might even say it is frivolous and a waste of time. However, we beg to differ.

Photo by Howard Chen
As you've read in previous posts, the social stigma against people with disabilities in Haiti is prominent, leaving our campers—people with varying disabilities—stressed and tense, day in and day out. We're sure our readers would agree from personal experience that high levels of stress affect our bodies in a multitude of unhealthy ways, from general grouchiness to loss of sleep to depression or anxiety. Perpetual tension also inhibits our ability to learn and fully participate in everyday activities.

The Mayo Clinic dedicates page after page of their website describing the ill-effects of stress:
When the stressors of your life are always present, leaving you constantly feeling stressed, tense, nervous or on edge, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The less control you have over potentially stress-inducing events and the more uncertainty they create, the more likely you are to feel stressed. Even the typical day-to-day demands of living can contribute to your body's stress response... This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Memory impairment
  • Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema
Photo by Howard Chen
For these reasons and more, Spa Night will continue to be a part of Camp Jake as campers learn healthy ways to deal with stress. Not only will they enjoy a full body massage and facial with high-quality products from Aveda (complements of our friends at Neill Corp), they will learn relaxation techniques that they can utilize long after camp.