1. You fit right in
“One reason I do love having arthritis is that I get to go to the Arthritis Foundation’s Camp M.A.S.H. [Make Arthritis Stop Hurting] in August! It is the best week of summer and my life! You make so many good friends and you all share something-the fact that you ALL have arthritis and are in pain. When I'm at camp I completely forget I have arthritis!” says Monica J.
2. You get to stretch yourself
“You get to do a lot of things that you may never have had a chance to do,” Monica says. “We went zip lining one year. Scariest thing ever! You are so far off the ground, but I could never regret jumping off the deck and zipping through the woods! Takes a lot of courage but it was tons of fun and you have all your friends that are just as scared as you are, cheering you on!”
3. You’ll make friends for life
“Camp is my second family,” says Hanna S. “One week at camp makes my whole year – it is such a neat place. I have met so many lifelong friends there.”
“I'm very sad that it is my last year [at camp] this summer,” says Monica. The "graduation" campfire will be very hard to get through this year, she admits: “Many tears will be shed. The friendships and memories that have been made there are irreplaceable!”
4. It’s a help-out opportunity
Jordan S. volunteered at a camp for children with arthritis and their siblings. Because he’d lived with JA, he could bring fresh ideas to its counselor-in-training (CIT) program, which has a challenging goal: to keep kids ages 13 to 15 interested in the camp experience as they enter the tricky transition years between being a child and an adult with arthritis. As CITs, teens can help other kids at camp while learning how to mentor and assume leadership roles.