Splish, Splash! Over one hundred local foster youth frolicked in the pool, rode horses, raced each other down the zip line and created memories with their brothers and sisters at the 10th annual Camp Connect, a program that provides experiences for siblings separated by their placement in the foster care system.
While the kids stay active with nature-filled activities, nurses are needed to tend to any bumps, scrapes, splinters or tummy aches and medications are provided throughout the day and night. And HHSA Public Health Services nurses volunteer every year to do those duties at camp.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect at Camp Connect, but I am so glad I was there,” said Amaya Seastrand, a Central Region nurse supervisor who spent the four days at camp with the youth.
“These kids have been through so much and being part of something that brings them together with their siblings made my heart fill with joy.”
Some of the children may have diabetes or asthma and need increased attention and monitoring. Oftentimes, they have experienced challenges and trauma, and look forward to spending time with their siblings.
“It’s all about the kids,” said Paulina Bobenrieth, South Region Public Health Nurse Manager, an annual volunteer at Camp Connect. “Everything the nurses and social workers do is to give the kids the best experience of their lives.”
“The nurses go to where the kids are playing and provide what’s needed in the most gentle way. It’s inspiring.”
In addition to this event, Camp Connect provides monthly opportunities for siblings to remain connected while in foster care. The camp is made possible through a partnership between HHSA and a local non-profit, Promises2Kids, along with dozens of volunteers from across the county.