The Dermatology PA Foundation (DPAF) is exploring many opportunities to share the goodwill of our generous donors! One of these that we are considering is working with the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation’s Camp Wonder in Livermore, CA. DPAF Chair, John Notabartolo, had the opportunity to visit Camp Wonder in June 2016.
Camp Wonder, a summer camp for children ages 6-16 with chronic skin disease is held for 1 week at Camp Arroyo, a year-round location that is run by the Taylor Family Foundation. The site has dormitories, a cafeteria/recreation hall, pool, stables, arts and crafts building, 24 hour medical staffing and a 6 bed medical facility. The Taylor Family Trust facilitates camps all summer for kids with different chronic medical conditions. Camp Wonder is usually held at the end of June. Other disease state specific camps include Crohn’s disease and Celiac. The trust provides basic staff, food and activities for the campers.
Camp Wonder has been in operation for 16 years and we met with the director and founder, Francesca Tenconi, as well as her father Don. They had 62 campers in attendance whose conditions ranged from moderate/chronic eczema to severe atopic dermatitis. All facilities are wheelchair accessible so even the group of fully wrapped, wheelchair-bound kids was able to navigate the grounds freely. Many former campers return as adult counselors to mentor the attendees.
Most impressive was the joyful atmosphere and great care provided to all the campers. Each of the cabins houses 4-6 campers and 2-4 staff, depending on the conditions and medical needs. They provide the same basic care for the campers that they would receive at home and rarely turn down an applicant, only those with issues so severe they can’t provide the attention that they need.
Discussion with the staff and director centered around how The DPAF can provide them additional help, both financially and with medical personnel.