New Copneconic health clinic opens world of summer camp to more kids
(04/22/14) - Summer camp sure isn't what it used to be. That is definitely the case at Fenton's Camp Copneconic - which just opened a brand new, state-of- the-art health care center. Copneconic hosts thousands of children every year, and this new clinic could open up the magical world of summer camp for even more kids.
The décor has a rustic flair, but the YMCA's newly built Health and Wellness Center at Camp Copneconic probably does not look like a building at any summer camp you've ever visited. The center is a collaboration between Hurley Medical Center and the YMCA's camp, located in Fenton.
The $2.5 million, state-of-the-art clinic is already getting rave reviews from experience past campers, like Rebekah Hall, "I think it's a very nice little hospital. I think it's kinda big and it's very well built."
For the camp's executive director, John Carlson, M.Ed., this facility is a real dream come true, "It's more than a building, this facility is about giving kids the opportunity to experience camp like any other kid."
You see, so many of the groups of campers who will visit Copneconic every year are living with cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, chron's and Autism, just to name a few. Carlson does not want any of those to be a barrier to a child enjoying the camp experience, "We want them - the kids - just to be kids. We want them, when they come out here, not to worry about their condition."
The center will help in that mission, allowing some campers to take dialysis treatments, rest, get their medications and simply have the tools they need to manage their illness or disorder, without having to interrupt their camping experience.
All of that, and they are camping with kids who share the same illness or disorder, and understand what they go through. Rebekah, who has asthma, really likes that, "sometimes when you take your treatment, other kids stare at you. Sometimes it gets embarrassing, but when are with kids who like all of them sometimes have to take one, it doesn't feel always feel embarrassing because other kids do it with you."
For Ted Cram, supporting the center is a way to keep a promise he made to is granddaughter, Peyton, a Copneconic alumn, who lost her battle with cancer five years ago, "I know that this would be a dream, in fact, I think she is looking down on us now and saying 'good job'."
It is the campers, says John Carlson, who are the real heart and soul of this project, "they inspire us. The kids bring the joy and the courage into camp. They are the true heroes in this whole thing."
The YMCA Camp Copneconic Health and Wellness Center is completely bought and paid for, according to organizers. At the ribbon cutting, Hurley Medical Center presented the camp with a check for $25,000.00.