TAMPA, Fla. — Just 2 hours north of Tampa sits Camp Boggy Creek.
It’s a special camp that sits on 232 acres and was founded in 1996 by actor Paul Newman and General Norman Schwarzkopf.
The best part is the camp is completely free for any kid with a medical condition.
“When you’re a child who gets diagnosed with a serious illness, whether it’s cancer or epilepsy or heart disease, you name it, you’re immediately different than most of your peers. You feel isolated,” explained Dan Jurman, the President and CEO of Camp Boggy Creek.
Jurman told ABC Action News that Camp Boggy Creek is important for these kids because they often miss out on just being a kid.
“Your life becomes one filled with hospital visits and scary tests and needles and all these things that just add to fear and stress that a child might have. It robs them of a little piece of their childhood,” said Jurman.
Children ages 7 to 16 get to enjoy the outdoors, whether they are mobile or not.
And there are doctors and nurses who volunteer to assist with any medical needs. They, along with counselors, all work pro bono.
“We do archery and swimming and boating and fishing and miniature golf and, you know, all the things that you would do at a normal summer camp. But everything is wheelchair accessible,” explained Jurman.
The camp also offers horseback riding, archery, and arts and crafts. They even have a breakfast with Star Wars characters.
Jurman said the changes seen in these kids is just priceless over the course of the week.
“When they come to camp, part of the magic is that they’re with children who are just like them. And so if they were teased at school, they’re not teased at camp because at camp everybody’s going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and everybody knows what that’s like,” explained Jurman.
And the kids finally don’t feel alone anymore.
“Camp has a very intentional culture of kindness, and that’s all about helping these kids be in a place that’s safe, where they can feel respected and where they can feel loved,” said Jurman.
Since opening, Camp Boggy Creek has served over 90,000 children and parents.
Currently, the camp holds 150 kids per session. They offer 8 summer sessions, 17 family weekend sessions, and they have a new free bereavement camp for any child who’s lost a loved one.
You can learn more about Camp Boggy Creek and how to register for a session by clicking here.
https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-hillsborough/camp-boggy-creek-offers-an-escape-for-children-living-with-serious-medical-conditions Camp Boggy Creek offers an escape for children with serious medical conditions