Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 11.11.55 PMNo!… Not the Painted Turtle!! There should be some special exemption from commonplace calamities like the Powerhouse Fire for such a special place. This domain is heaven on earth.

I should have known better than to have believed the first reports on their website that all was well since “90% of the vegetation and ‘most’ of the buildings were intact”. Words like these from such an aggressively positive organization should have been a clue: things were not A-OK. It seems some buildings have been lost, the vegetation is history and the smoke damage extensive. For kids with respiratory issues and suppressed immunity this would of course be untenable.

Unless you have the misfortune of needing this camp it is possible you do not know how truly miraculous a place it is. They provide a medically safe place for hundreds of children to attend sleep-away summer camp who in some cases have never been able to spend a night anywhere except in the hospital or maybe at home. There is a specially treated swimming pool for children who have never been able to enjoy a regular swimming pool. There is a special ropes course that accommodates children in wheel chairs and with all manner of difficulty locomoting. There are even ponies that children can ride.

There is so, so much more. Safe facilities medically and emotionally; a haven from the unbearable weight of life-threatening illness for a whole family. A place to escape to together, where affected children and their well siblings can play together, and talk about their trauma even, sometimes. But mostly just work through it with fun. Fun is the prescription that is filled and it is honestly, deeply healing, not just at the time but for years and years and years afterward.

My own child and our whole family has received immeasurable peace and healing from this beneficent organization. Just recently I was reliving in my mind’s eye how amazing and supportive our first time at the camp was; there is absolutely no way that words could convey the repair conferred on my deeply scarred ill child by having a community of 200 people cheering her, personally, throwing hands up over their heads all around in a big “O” for Outstanding! The height this boosts a hurting, damaged soul is higher than any height conceivable; it is other-worldly. And that goes for many souls, not just the one directly afflicted. Whole families and empathic circles of friends too are touched. So many are felled by illness, and what they do at this camp picks so many of them back up too.

This is a facility started and sustained by folks with deep pockets, but it is supported by the rest of us as well. Countless volunteer hours and persons of such genuine good giving deeply of themselves. The camp represents about the best we humans know how to do and be for one another. If you can find it in your means to give a little bit to hurry these children back into such a special space quickly, you would do well by your own soul. Heaven knows these children need it. See this roster of the week-long camps for special diseases served that have so sadly been cancelled this year. Maybe with enough assistance some of these camps could still be held in 2013 for the kids? Please?!

Thank you for whatever little bit you can spare. I guarantee that even if you never see a return on your money, a child in great need will know your gift, deep down inside.