Whether together or apart, Summer Camp is in our Hearts.

Can you believe summertime is right around the corner? Warmer weather is on its way and with it…Summer Camp fun!

Camp One Step is excited to share that Summer Camp is coming to our community in two different ways in 2021: virtual programming and in-person programming. Thanks to our volunteers and camper families, our virtual programs have been hugely successful. We have been able to expand our reach to include campers who are not able to attend in person due to hospitalization, medical condition, treatment or inability to travel to camp. This year’s Summer Camp virtual will be organized by typical camper groups as we have been in the past (Standard, Stepping Up, ACE, Campcraft, etc.). Each camper will receive a care package delivered to their home that will include tons of fun supplies for both online and offline entertainment.  Summer Camp Virtual will be held from July 11th – 16th during what is traditionally Week 1 of Summer Camp.

We are excited to return to in-person programs and welcome back our campers and volunteers to Lake Geneva after many months of planning! Our primary goal this summer is to provide fun-filled activities in an environment that promotes the highest level of safety.  In-person Summer Camp will be offered in two different sessions broken out by age groups (Session 1 – July 18-20: ages 7-10, and 17-20, and Session 2 – July 22-24: ages 11-16) and will give our camp community an amazing opportunity to see their friends on campus for a few days of jam-packed fun. It is a year to reconnect, make new friends, and to make new memories together.

 

Summer Camp may be structured differently, but the goal is the same: to provide a safe, fun experience for our camp community. Programs Manager Devin Ryan says, “Summer Camp 2021 is taking the best of both worlds and making a fantastic, unforgettable experience!  The activities being planned for both virtual and in-person Summer Camp build off of camp favorites and still bring unique fun to campers near and far.  Be sure to get your applications in soon…this summer is one you won’t want to miss!” Will you be part of the fun? We hope so! Get ready to laugh until your cheeks hurt. 

In addition to Summer Camp Virtual and Summer Camp In-Person Sessions, Camp One Step is thrilled to launch the 2021 Summer Series.  From May to September, each month a free event or activity will be offered to all current families with a camper 20 years old or younger and new families who have a camper 19 years or younger, to enjoy some camp-favorite activities.  Whether families are safely joining a drive-in movie or taking everyone to an amusement park, Camp One Step will be providing opportunities to keep the fun going all summer long!  Our first event is a Drive-In movie on May 8th in Chicago. Click here to register. Mark your calendar for June; we will be offering admission tickets to your choice of one of three amusement parks. Supplemental funding will be provided to help defray some of the costs for meals and transportation.

We know that camp will look different this year, but our entire team is confident that we will bring excitement, joy, and happiness to our community. We can’t wait to see you on Zoom enjoying time and activities together, on the shore of Lake Geneva, or in photos of you and your family enjoying a Summer Series event. As always, Camp isn’t a place, it’s a Community.

A new year means new opportunities to connect with the community and continue to bring one-of-a-kind camp experiences to campers near and far.  Last year, Camp One Step was able to reinvent a new “normal” for campers, sending exciting care packages to engage individuals and their families in virtual programming on Zoom and in their homes.  Now, the chance to continue reaching campers who cannot physically attend programs continues, as well as the hopeful return to in-person programming sometime later this year.  The entire Camp One Step community is waiting in eager anticipation as the early 2021 programs are slated to bring even more virtual fun to campers.

The decision to return to in-person programming will be focused on the ability to maintain the health and safety of campers and staff, attained primarily through control of the COVID-19 virus and the achievement of widespread vaccination in the United States.  Strategies for returning to in-person camp safely will be guided by recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the American Camp Association.  With the hope that widespread COVID-19 vaccination could occur by early summer, planning to return in person for Summer Camp 2021 is an exciting potential!  Campers would have the option to join in person, virtually, or both during Summer Camp.  A task force has been convened, and the strategies to safely return are continually being planned and adjusted.  Though programming may look different at Conference Point Center this year, Camp One Step is committed to bringing happiness and joy through the continuation of year-round camp spirit.

Looking forward to the excitement of the spring and early summer programs, exploring new and creative opportunities is important to the success of virtual programming.  Chicago Day Camp, Brain Tumor Family Camp, and Sibling Camp were all huge virtual hits last year, and planning for even more at-home engagement is underway for this year!  What kind of virtual field trips will Chicago Day Campers take, and where around the world will those trips lead them?  What family activities and parent support will Brain Tumor Family Camp Virtual provide for the community?  Will there be another program-long, connection-building competition during Sibling Camp Virtual?  Join in for these respective programs to see how virtual camp can be elevated to a new level of fun in 2021!

Utah Ski Program Virtual: Join for a Gnarly, Full Send on Zoom!

“Dashing through the snow, on a…” virtual mountain tour?!  Is that even possible??  It absolutely is if you participate in the Utah Ski Program Virtual sending off this February!  Come join campers and staff alike to take a Zoom trip to Park City, Utah where the National Ability Center (NAC) will immerse you in mountain life.  Don’t want to spend time lacing up your boots?  Can’t find that second glove to keep your hands warm?  No problem!  The 2021 Utah Ski Program Virtual will take you on a journey up and down the slopes without you even needing to put on your coat!

Campers between the ages of 10-19 are invited to apply for this program, which will take place February 24-27, 2021.  Austin C. and Erin H., the Program Directors for the Utah Ski Program, are “stoked” for this virtual experience, and are taking into consideration school hours for planning activities.  They are urging for campers to “carve out time this February for friendships to snowball, mountains of knowledge to be learned, and sky high laughs to be had.”  If those puns don’t get you excited for the Utah Ski Program, there’s something else that may…the camper care box!  Your Program Directors are working tirelessly with the NAC staff to bring that same Utah feeling to everyone over Zoom, including collaborating to create everyone’s favorite supplies box with goodies galore.  What will be in this super special box?  You’ll have to sign up and join the virtual fun to find out!  Applications will only be open for one month, so apply to participate today!  Full send!

If you or someone you know will need a loanable iPad from the Camp One Step Technology Fund to enjoy Utah Ski Virtual, please email Darryl ([email protected]).

 

Click HERE to go to the Utah Ski Program Virtual page to apply!

#GivingTuesday: An opportunity to make a difference and

show what’s in your heart

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; the holidays are here! Along with the celebrations comes the opportunity to give back, marked by Camp One Step’s holiday appeal to send more kids to camp in 2021. “Camp is where the heart is” could not be a more appropriate theme for this campaign which has a goal to raise $100,000 in just one month, beginning on December 1st, which is #GivingTuesday. As 2020 has presented many challenges to individuals, families, and organizations around the world, Camp One Step has come together to help its community and has found new ways to address those changes, including creating the Family Assistance Fund and providing virtual experiences for every program. Not only will a donation on #GivingTuesday go directly to supporting both in-person and virtual programming, but it will also be matched dollar-for-dollar by The Ellen Marks Cancer Foundation, up to the first $25,000 raised! We thank The Ellen Marks Cancer Foundation for their incredible support of our campers, families, and this holiday initiative.

Taking a look back at this year’s journey, camp was always going to happen. Giving campers the space to build connections and lifelong friendships via virtual programming was made even more successful by the commitment of our donors that allowed Camp One Step to send individual care packages to each and every camper who applied. The reach of virtual programs also extended beyond the borders of the United States this year, reaching campers living in both the UK and South America. Camper parent Mollie, whose daughter has participated in multiple virtual programs all the way from Ecuador, commented: “Summer Camp was the only camp program that Annika was able to attend but now, with virtual camp, Annika can now go to more Camp One Step programs, see her friends and counselors, and be part of this amazing community that she considers so special and close to her heart, all the way from Quito!”

Seeing the impact of our programs on campers has created a unique opportunity for donations to help in multiple ways, being that $1,000 sponsors a camper for a week of in-person programming, and $500 provides a camper a week of virtual programming. Because The Ellen Marks Cancer Foundation has graciously offered to match donations, supporting the holiday appeal this year gives donors the chance to double the impact of their gifts.

#GivingTuesday is about more than donating; it is about giving kids with cancer from all over the world the opportunity to be kids once again. Camp truly is where the heart is, and this year’s holiday appeal is the perfect way to continue bringing these life-changing experiences to campers, both virtually and in person. Jeff Infusino, Camp One Step President, sums up the growth and adaptations of 2020, as well as the importance of this year’s holiday appeal, commenting that “Camp lives within all of us every day. In 2020, the pivot to virtual programming crystallized the statement that Camp is not just a place, it’s a Community. Your support fuels the heartbeat of Camp that brings joy, confidence, and belief in a brighter future to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.”

Make your gift count this holiday season and help fuel the magic of camp; donate to Camp One Step today! To make a gift in support of the 2020 holiday appeal, please visit www.weheartcamp.givesmart.com OR TEXT WEHEARTCAMP TO 76278 .

Forever Indebted…A Tribute to our Founder, Dr. Edward Baum
by Susie Burke, Medical Director, Camp One Step

My personal story with Dr. Baum started in 1983 when I was a young staff nurse working on the School Age/Adolescent Unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I loved working with children but considered myself relatively novice in my role as a pediatric nurse. I gravitated towards the kids with cancer, wanting to learn as much as I could about childhood cancer, it’s treatment, as well as the impact of cancer on the child and their family – so I decided to volunteer at a summer camp for kids with cancer. At that time, camps for kids with cancer were early on in their evolution, and the closest one to me was based out of Chicago, run by a physician by the name of Dr. Edward Baum. Actually, it was the only camp for kids with cancer in the entire Midwest and only one of a few in the United States. So pulling out my typewriter, I composed a letter to Dr. Baum, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at the former Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago (now Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital), and also founder of Camp One Step at a Time. And that was the start of our journey together……
Dr. Baum had a dream – and one of those dreams was to give kids with cancer the opportunity to just be kids – to have fun, laugh and play, do normal kid stuff, and to forget about the hospital and treatments for just a short period of time. He always dreamed big and one of those dreams became a reality with the founding of Camp One Step at a Time. He laid the foundation for camp and provided all of the building blocks for generations to come – today his legacy lives on in the many programs that grew out of his inspiration, and through the many campers and volunteers that have benefitted from his work.

When I think about how best to describe Dr. Baum, some words immediately come to mind – trailblazer, visionary, brilliant, creative, supportive, esteemed, and trusted. He was a man who was held in such high regard by so many people. He was a forward thinker, continually looking for new opportunities that would improve the lives of children with cancer and their families. He truly valued and upheld the concept of family centered care, long before it was considered a core standard in pediatrics. He was a soft-spoken man but when he spoke, people stopped and listened.
Dr. Baum was a role model and through his actions, he challenged each and every one of us to be the best version of ourselves. He had a special way of bringing out the best in people, whether it was a very shy, homesick camper wanting to go home or a new counselor just getting their feet wet. He helped them believe in themselves by always believing in them. Those gentle taps on the shoulder or those rides in the golf cart – those were often the times when his new ideas would unfold and you knew that he wanted you to help make it happen. You never knew when a phone call might come from Dr. Baum asking you to take on a new responsibility, often saying “Don’t worry, I have the first few days figured out – we can talk about the rest when you get here.” He trusted you to go forward, but was always there for you when needed. He didn’t solve the problem for you but instead supported you through your problem-solving – as a result, he developed a lot of very resilient people.

Over the past several days, I have had a chance to look at my “camp memorabilia” from the 1980’s. Many of the traditions, steeped in history, continue today at camp – the camp song, time at the waterfront, Excursion’s trip to the Dells, the beloved Abbey Boat Day, our closing banquet with camper speakers, camper awards, and Sr. Erna’s bird walk, to name a few. As I looked through photobooks specifically searching for photos of Dr. Baum, only a few could be found. He was even missing in my All Camp photos. So I thought about that and realized that the explanation was really quite simple. Camp was never about Dr. Baum, who he was or what he did – he always made sure that the focus was on the kids – and I believe that is a tradition that lives on today. One Step at a Time’s our goal & One Step at a Time is our philosophy.

Many years have passed since I have had the opportunity to visit with Dr. Baum but the memories of our time together and his wisdom will remain with me forever. I truly believe that I am here today, the Medical Director at Camp One Step, because of him. He took a chance on me when he opened that letter in 1983, just like he has so many times with so many others. I consider myself one of the “lucky ones” because our paths crossed, and his friendship a true blessing – I know that there are so many more who feel the same way that I do. We are forever grateful to him for his vision, guidance, inspiration and friendship, and strive every day to continue the work that he started, taking it one step at a time. I believe that Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best with these words, “Do not go where the path may lead. But go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
We will miss you, dear friend, but the imprint that you made on our hearts will live forever!

Winter Camp Virtual…coming to a computer near you!

 

As the weather starts to take a turn toward the colder parts of the year, the Camp One Step community is ready for something to warm their spirits.  Look no further; Winter Camp Virtual is coming to you December 28 through the morning of December 31!  Break out the hot chocolate, get your cozy clothes on, and get ready to spend an amazing three full days with your Camp family.

Keeping traditions active is one of the many goals for Winter Camp Virtual, as well as tying in some new ideas brought directly to campers’ homes.  Everyone’s favorite care packages will travel through snow, slush, and whatever other weather may present itself to ensure that the fun must go on.  A dance, a talent show, and even Camp Central are all currently in the works for the upcoming program, so warm up those vocal cords and shake out those dancing muscles because December is just around the corner!

The dedicated Winter Camp Admin team is planning another engaging program for campers and staff alike, accessible to those near and far.  The continued success of Camp One Step’s virtual programs would not be possible without the time, energy, planning, and passion of the outstanding volunteers and program leadership, so be prepared to see all of that hard work come to life during the program.  Program Director Mark Lowry is excited that the program is being offered virtually to reach as many campers as possible and says, “I can’t wait for Winter Camp Virtual!  The hot cocoa, snowball fights, gingerbread houses…and that’s just the beginning of what we have planned for you!  Join us, and stay warm, for Winter Camp 2020.”  If you or someone you know will need a loanable iPad from the Camp One Step Technology Fund to enjoy Winter Camp Virtual, please email Darryl ([email protected]).

Who will join from different states around the country?  Who will join from different countries around the world?  Will the famous Summer Camp Virtual weather forecasts continue to keep campers and staff prepared in all regions?  Find out soon when you join for Winter Camp Virtual.  Applications are now closed.