Family Weekends are Full of Surprises

BergerFall had arrived and camper mom Amy Berger was looking forward to their fifth annual stay at our Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases Family Weekend. Thirteen year-old Katie had made friends with other children with similar diseases, and seven year-old Lauren benefited from all the one-on-one attention given to her by her Family Pal camp counselor. Mom and dad relished the emotional support that they received from and gave back to other parents whose children have an immunodeficiency disease. Even though dad had to work this weekend, mom knew she and the girls couldn’t afford to miss out on camp.

But as any parent with a child with serious illness knows, plans can be hard to keep. So mom decided to keep the family’s visit to camp a surprise and simply told the girls they were headed out to do something fun!

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Older daughter Katie guessed they were on the way to camp when they turned onto the long winding road into the hills above Los Angeles. For the rest of the ride Katie and her sister Lauren talked non-stop about all that awaited them. Katie was looking forward to seeing the camp volunteer affectionately known as Pops and to making projects in Arts & Crafts, her favorite activity area. Lauren couldn’t wait to sing camp songs with her camp friends. As it turned out, Katie found a new favorite camp activity after riding a horse for the first time, and Lauren belted out camp songbook standards as well as Frozen’s “Let It Go” at stage night.

Sometimes the surprises that pop up for camper families are scary and unsettling, but those at The Painted Turtle are full of adventure, friendships, and memory-making. Here’s to life’s sweet surprises and all of our Family Weekend campers!

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