Your 3 Hours + Camp Knutson Kids = Smiles for All

Volunteers needed on June 26.

In 1993, Camp Knutson launched a new program for children living with severe diseases of the skin. Two ECLC youth, Jennifer Johnson and Kia Erickson volunteered to assist the kids they arrived at the airport. Since then, hundreds of kids from around the country and around the world have come to Minnesota to go to camp, and a great many ECLC members have been on hand to offer welcome as they arrive, and see them safely on their flights home.

Camp Knutson is a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, and exists to offer the experience of summer camp to children who can’t go to camp anywhere else. These include kids with heart disease, kids on the autism spectrum, kids impacted by HIV/AIDS and Down Syndrome. Among them are the kids of Camp Discovery, who live with skin diseases that are painful, disfiguring, and often shorten life expectancy. A week at camp allows them to get beyond their diseases for a little while, enjoy all the activities of camping, and make wonderful friends. For kids whose lives revolve around medical procedures, and find it hard to make friends, camp is a life-changing experience. For some, it is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Joy W. lives with icthyosis, a disorder that causes the formation of dry, fish-like scales that cover the surface of her body. The condition often begins in early childhood and is usually life-long. Until she came to camp, Joy had never met another child with her condition. When she arrived at the airport for the first time and saw the gathering of children, she exclaimed to her volunteer escort, “There are kids here who look like me! That is what this experience is all about.

Many thanks to everyone who has already signed up to help this year–we couldn’t do it without you! But, even more volunteers are urgently needed for Friday, June 26. Our numbers for that day are too low to take care of all the campers. Those who can spend three hours at the airport escorting kids to their flights home from camp will be greatly appreciated by the children and their parents. To volunteer, or get more information, contact Dan Mason.