Camp Hope 2019

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Just a day and a half into the weeklong Camp Hope, the campers had already stuffed their schedule with activities.

“So far I’ve launched a rocket and I have been to the log cabin and I’ve been to some of the buildings,” said camper Andrew Benitez. “I’ve also gotten a blanket that was really cozy and done some yoga.”

Camp for a Cause

It’s all an effort to help children cope with a parent’s or loved one’s diagnosis of cancer.

“We have small groups that we deal with the children’s emotions and things and then how to cope with that – to calm their emotions and to discuss things in small group and through play,” said Linda Conlin, psychosocial social work manager at Edward-Elmhurst Cancer Center.

The camp is completely free for the campers and is funded by donations made to the Edward Foundation.

Therapy Dogs

This is the 15th year for Camp Hope, but one activity they’re trying out for the first time is bringing in therapy dogs, and they seemed to be a big hit.

“Sometimes I get a little nervous so the dogs kind of help calm me down,” said Benitez.

“If you find something that you love and you’re devoted to and you want to take care of, it helps you emotionally,” said Conlin. “Just by even petting the dog or any animal helps with calming the person. So as I look around, I can see that it’s made a lot of kids really happy.”

Dance Movement Therapy

All of the activities are designed to be fun, but also help the campers deal with emotions many children don’t experience. Dance movement therapy is a great example.

“A lot of times children don’t necessarily have the words for their experiences,” said Lauren Milburn, a dance movement therapist brought in for the camp. “So when we can access emotional content through movement expression that allows for children to really be able to name how they feel in this embodied way rather than having to talk about those emotions.”

Providing hope for those who need it most.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.