The Beginnings of Camp
Joan Powell, former Associate Executive Director and founder of Camp EAGR talks about the beginnings of camp and her time at the helm of such an important program:
In 1990, a new Executive Director, the late Sheila Appleby, asked me what program or activity I thought the Epilepsy Foundation needed to address. Having been working with the adult population who had epilepsy for 6 years, my immediate response was children and a CAMP! The children I did see from the community were so isolated and many of their parents were afraid for them to do the most common "kid stuff" such as riding a bike, swimming and other sports. In August 1991 with 35 kids and a slew of volunteers including a neurologist and nurses, we made Camp EAGR happen.
My greatest memory and pleasure was of course seeing the kids make friends, gaining self-confidence and tasting independence for the first time. There is nothing like a "high five" when a child accomplishes getting to the top of the climbing wall they never thought they could! The play was important to them of course, but that was secondary to what I wanted to see happen. And their parents were amazed at the changes a short 7 days can make! Not to mention some of the parents getting their first break in years while their child was safe at camp.
The other greatest achievement was the huge family we created, counselors who came back year after year as well as the doctors who saw kids with seizures in a different light and realizing how much of an impact the child's seizures had on them and their families. Many of the campers became counselors as they grew up at Camp EAGR. Camp EAGR has been a lifeline for kids and parents, a joyful experience for all of those involved and I treasure my memories so much -- even the not sleeping, the camp food at times, and the unending drama of teenage girls. It was and still is worth it. Once you see that grin, or get a big hug or just watch these kids running around and playing with their new friends.
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$400 sends a child to camp for a week
A gift in any amount helps children to learn about their epilepsy, make friends with other children with epilepsy, and have the experience of a lifetime!