There are many unique challenges to being a young person with MS, as described in our new publication ‘Childhood MS: a guide for parents’. Spending time with other young people who are affected by chronic illnesses can be a great way for children and teenagers with MS to build resilience whilst combating social isolation.
Summer Camps offer young people an opportunity to experience fun and adventure in the outdoors, usually in a residential or camping setting. They provide an intensive experience where getting to know other people comes naturally as campers take part in sporting or creative pursuits. It’s a place to make friends, be inspired by older mentors and broaden horizons.
The MS Society of Canada’s ‘MS Summer Camp’ is a place where young people can meet others their own age who living with MS. It’s a place where their symptoms are understood and don’t set them apart. Anna, who was diagnosed with MS aged 16, attends the camp. She said:
“MS Summer camp feels like coming home. Where I’m surrounded by people my own age who understand me. It’s this little community that we have for a week where we all belong together.”
For Anna’s mother Rebecca, camp means a week of not worrying about her daughter’s well-being.
“Anna has to deal with lots of challenges during the year that are both emotionally and physically exhausting, and by the end of the school year she’s worn out by all of those challenges. But when she goes to camp and she comes back, she seems to have been revived. It changes her outlook, and she feels like she can meet the challenges of the year ahead because she’s absorbed all of these positive interactions with people who get her.”
Thanks to Meaghan Kelly, Content Coordinator at the MS Society of Canada.