Nestled serenely in the woods of the Pacific Northwest near Mt. Rainier is a unique camp for kids. Stanley Stamm Summer Camp is week-long, sleepover camp for children with serious illnesses, ages 6 to 14 years old who are patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. From cystic fibrosis to congenital heart disease, Stanley Stamm Camp can care for children with terminal or chronic medical conditions who may be unable to attend other camps due to their medical needs.
Founded in 1967 by Dr. Stanley Stamm, a Seattle Children’s cardiologist and quiet hero, the camp has transformed since it’s inception to something truly magical and memorable. “The camp started very small, with only a few volunteers,” said Stamm. “Today, we have about 100 campers and more than 200 volunteers. They are truly the spirit of the camp. It’s been nearly 50 years since we started, and it will hopefully continue long after I’m gone.”
Where a kid can be a kid
Keefe Brockman, a volunteer and former camper believes Stanley Stamm Summer Camp is the best place in the world.
“Kids can just be kids here,” he said. “The greatest part about Stamm Camp is that you don’t see wheelchairs and tracheas. You see kids having fun and enjoying being kids.”
For Brockman, the camp holds a very special place in his heart, so much so, that only 36 hours after his wedding day, he arrived at camp to volunteer his time. This year was Brockman’s tenth year as a camp counselor.
“When you’re a kid and you’re surrounded by nurses and doctors, and you are in and out of the hospital, life can be stressful enough,” said Brockman. “Here, kids are treated like kids and everyone is welcoming and friendly. Sometimes the outside world isn’t as understanding.”
“We look forward to camp all year”
Lakesia Riley has been coming to camp since she was 8 years old. For her, Stanley Stamm Camp is a place away from her regimen of medication.
“We do a lot of activities and the counselors are really nice,” she said. “The best the best part of camp is hanging out with my friends. I don’t have to think about my medicine when I’m here.”
From skits in the dining hall at lunch to karaoke and dance parties at night, Stanley Stamm Summer Camp is a filled with small memories that make the deepest impact in the lives of both the campers and volunteers.
“Even for the kids that can’t tell you their having fun, you can see it in their eyes, in some of their movements and in their expressions,” said Shaquita Bell a pediatrician with Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic and camp volunteer.
To donate to Stanley Stamm Summer Camp please visit the donation page. The average cost for one child to attend camp is $1,400.
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- – Evening Magazine