This past weekend marked the first-ever Camp Open Arms!
Children with limb differences such as brachial plexus birth palsy and congenital/traumatic deformities joined us for two fun-filled days in Monkton in Northern Baltimore County.
Putting on this camp was the idea of our pediatric orthopaedist, Dr. Josh Abzug. He is used to seeing patients with limb differences in the clinic, but he wanted to see these children become carefree campers jumping onto tree swings, going for hikes and even chucking water balloons at him!
Campers ranging in age from 4 to 9 arrived on Friday morning not really knowing what to expect. The two dozen volunteers were not quite sure what to expect either. Everyone changed into bright yellow Camp Open Arms t-shirts, which quickly helped put everyone at ease since we looked like a cohesive group. We certainly became one, especially among the campers.
The children did not talk much about their limb differences, but they seemed to understand that they had that connection as they helped one another overcome obstacles. Volunteers watched as they worked on crafts, played a variety of instruments and simply had fun.
Dr. Abzug wanted the tag line of the camp to be “Strength, Courage and Determination.” Campers demonstrated those values! We witnessed big smiles and infectious laughter that made all of us believe that Camp Open Arms has a bright future.
The weekend culminated with a large BBQ with the families joining the campers and the many volunteers. One girl asked if she could come back the next day, which we took as a sign that our inaugural year of Camp Open Arms was a success!