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Camp Scholarship Helps Oley Kids Grow
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Natalie Wins Cooking Award

 Natalie with her award.

Mary Wootten

Natalie Wootten, 10, a recipient of the Oley Tim Weaver Camp Scholarship this year, attended two camps this summer: she spent one week at Camp MasterChef in Kent, Connecticut, and another at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut.

Natalie is mostly tube fed, and has been since she was sixteen months old, due to failure to thrive and dysmotility. Surprisingly, she has a strong interest in cooking and baking, as well as creating new recipes.

Natalie was the first child with a feeding tube to attend Camp MasterChef! She spent her days with other children, chefs, and MasterChef winners learning new techniques and recipes, and safety in the kitchen. Although Natalie does tube feed, she can and does eat a small amount of food orally. Nurturing Natalie’s love for feeding others is vitally important to keeping her own interest in oral intake alive. She learned to make tiramisu, ratatouille, guacamole and chips, and more, and she won the Top Spud Award!

Camp MasterChef provided wonderful medical care for Natalie during her stay. She was able to receive all of her tube feedings, medications, and treatments right on schedule.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network. It was founded by Paul Newman in 1988 and, to quote their literature, is “dedicated to providing ‘a different kind of healing’ to seriously ill children and their families throughout the Northeast” and celebrating “the fun, friendship and spirit of childhood.” Natalie enjoyed horseback riding and spending time with friends she met there last year, as well as meeting new kids. Camp is a safe place where she can just be a kid, doing all the typical camp activities in a way that fits her needs, and where she doesn’t need to explain her feeding tube or backpack with pump and all of her medications.

Thank you to the Oley Foundation and Fresenius Kabi USA for providing the scholarship to help pay for the tuition and travel costs for these wonderful camps. The memories she made this summer will last a lifetime.


Zach Learns New Skills

Gary Solomon

 Zach shows off the box he made at

camp to hold his video games.

I dropped Zach off at camp with a bit of trepidation—not so much for him, but for my sanity regarding the medical attention he would receive. I spent a couple of hours with the medical staff going over the detailed notes and organization of his medical care. The staff was amazing at paying attention to my directions and thanked me for having his supplies so organized and directions easy to follow; it made me feel a bit more at ease about the upcoming week. I was given a tour of the camp with descriptions of all the wonderful experiences Zach was going to have. Knowing he was in good hands, I gave him a kiss and wished him a great time, and said I would see him in a week.

On Tuesday, I had a phone call with his counselor and all signs were positive! I received a photo of his woodworking expertise (his favorite activity of the week). He made a 12 x 12 x 12” box to hold his video games. The furthest thing from his mind was wondering how we were going to take that box back on the plane!

On the following beautiful, sunny Sunday morning, I returned to camp for camper pickup. Kids’ laughter could be heard coming from the mess hall as the campers exchanged pictures, signed each other’s shirts, and hugged goodbye. I could see the energy Zach had as he bounced between his friends. Zach greeted me with a smile the size of Connecticut.

While Zach whirled around getting signatures and pictures, the counselors regaled me with stories about Zach and the incredible energy and radiant affection he showed at camp. His positive energy and flexibility provided an incredible experience for everyone. Honestly, watching him and hearing the counselors’ feedback made me tear up and my heart swell for the opportunity he had had to experience this kind of camp.

We finished up our goodbyes and made our way to the infirmary to gather his suitcase and supplies. Then we made our way slowly out of camp and down the highway back to Boston to catch our flight. Zach took the next two hours to delight me with stories from the week—foods (his primary focus), woodworking, tennis, treehouses, archery, arts and crafts, theater night, horseback riding, the cabin, and on and on. There were even two other kids that he knew from his Oley conferences who bunked in his cabin every night! We discussed his survival for a week without his phone or a soda! He did share that his favorite breakfast was waffles and ice cream, of course!

I asked if he wanted to go to camp again next summer. His face lit up and he said FOR SURE! He said there were other camps like this in other cities and could he go to one every week of summer next year? I used the patented parent answer: “We’ll see!” We are so grateful for the outpouring of support that made this camp experience happen for Zach, including the Oley Tim Weaver Camp Scholarship.


LifelineLetter, September/October, 2018

 

more Calendar

2/9/2019
Oley Regional Conference - Dallas, Texas

6/21/2019 » 6/24/2019
2019 Oley/UI Health Combined Conference

This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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