Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant
Camp Reviews: The Family's Perspective

Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant

Camp Reviews: The Family's Perspective

Parents Jennifer and Kevin Figy wrote a review about their family's experiences at two oncology camps. Learn more about Hematology and Oncology Camps for Children and Families

Hozhoni Review

Hozhoni is a Navajo word meaning "completed circle of harmony."

The weekend after Labor Day weekend is one of our family's favorite weekends all year. Since September 2005, we have attended Hozhoni Weekend at Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt, Wisconsin, located 14 miles outside of Steven's Point. Each year we look forward to this outing as a way for us to "heal" and reach out to families in our situation.

Our daughter Savannah was diagnosed in June 2005, with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). It was during her first stay in the Hospital that I saw a flyer about this camp offering support and a chance for families to be with others in similar situations. I attended camp at Wisconsin Lions Camp (WLC) as a child so naturally I wanted to go as WLC has a special place in my heart.

Our very first year was very eye opening for me and my husband Kevin. We learned so much from the other families and the volunteer staff. Volunteer staff are nurses, doctors, social workers and parents of children who have had cancer, as well as staff from the American Cancer Society. We were able to talk openly about our daughter and her illness with people who were feeling exactly as we were. What amazed and encouraged us were the parents of children who had already finished treatment, they were so willing to help and share information. From that we knew it was possible to survive this devastating and traumatic change in our lives.

The first night at Hozohni the children play games and the younger ones can be watched by staff while the parents meet for snacks and beverages.

Saturday is a big day. The morning starts out as a Family craft or project. Then later in the morning parents meet to share and learn from one another. The afternoon are break out sessions offering more support and information regarding treatments, insurance and readying your child for the school year. The children are out playing games, doing crafts, and boating. Teenagers have an opportunity to participate in a ropes course. Then there is free time for families where you can rest, swim, go boating or fishing on Lions lake. Kevin will tell you it is very good fishing.

Saturday evening is a big cook out and dancing for all. There are also camp fire stories to be told and heard. Yes there have even been smores!

Sunday morning is a day that comes too soon. A DVD is made and shown to all, of the weekend's events.

One Step at a Time Family Camp (OSAAT)

This is also a wonderful family camp to attend. The past two years it has been held in the fall. Located on beautiful Lake Geneva in Willams Bay, Wisconsin. This camp is put on by Children's Oncology Services, Inc. (COSI) Chicago Children's Hospital. Here we stay on the grounds of George Williams/Aurora University.

The weekend's emphasis is on fun. Adults as well as children get to participate in games and activities. The first night, parents and children are separated for ice breaker games and fun. Saturday is a day where families play and learn from other families. Some past activities have been a relay of activities on the grounds to become familiar with the camp. The afternoon is a time where parents can listen and share with each other. There is usually a panel of childhood cancer survivors that educate parents on what our kids may be feeling, how we can help and support them. My husband and I really learn a lot from their experiences.

Saturday evening is fun as camp gathers for a wonderful meal followed by entertainment such as a speaker or a fun group activity. Families were shown a DVD introducing our children to summer camp. Summer camp at One Step is such a good way for children to act like and be normal kids. Summer camp runs for two weeks in July. Your child can go the entire two weeks or just for one week. We have learned so much from the other campers that come from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Please plan to sign your family up for one or both of these family camps. The Figy family no longer feels alone and are very happy when we see families we have met at camp either at clinic or out and about. Our family has made lasting memories and friendships we will never forget.