Summer Jam Youth Retreat

26 Jun

From June 7th-9th, six fabulous Physical Therapy students from Saint Louis University – Molly Gries, Mollye Leas, Claire McInerney, Claire McKeone, Lindsay Noesen, and Laura Sloan – spent a weekend volunteering as camp counselors for the Lupus Foundation of America – Heartland Chapter’s Summer Jam Youth Retreat.

Summer Jam Youth Retreat is the only LFA-sponsored camp in the country for young women with Lupus. It is a free weekend long summer camp for girls with lupus serving as an opportunity for them to talk to and get to know others fighting battles similar to their own, while also having a camp experience they might not otherwise have. Most of the campers have lupus, while the rest were there to support their friends who have the disease.

Here is what one of our fabulous volunteers, Laura Sloan, had to say about the experience:

Throughout the spring, we worked with members of the Lupus Foundation to plan activities and make it the best camp experience possible.  At camp, the girls participated in a variety of crazy activities we planned for them including making masks, decorating flip-flops, performing skits, practicing yoga, and many other camp activities.  I, personally, did not know what to expect from the weekend, but it was an absolutely amazing and unforgettable experience. The campers were receptive to new games and ideas as well as each other.  They helped each other make s’mores at the campfire, worked together with their cabin mates on a scavenger hunt, and sang karaoke like rock stars.  With or without lupus, there was a mutual respect among these young women that we were all honored to be a part of for this brief window in time. It was a brilliant demonstration of the strength of the human spirit that I can only hope these young women will take with them on their life journey with Lupus.

We are so thankful for Laura and all her classmates! Their energy, enthusiasm, and careful planning made this weekend a truly memorable experience. We hope we get a chance to work with them again soon!

If you would like to learn more about our Summer Jam Youth Retreat, be sure to check our out our photos and like us on Facebook!

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