Periwinkle Day Camp: Experiencing the Magic Virtually

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The Periwinkle Foundation’s important mission is being realized in new ways as we creatively innovate our camps, arts, and survivor programming to stay connected with families this summer, and beyond! Below are a few highlights from virtual Periwinkle Day Camp, hosted June 15-19, 2020.

Campers and counselors connect virtually!
activities in purple box for day camp
Periwinkle Day Camp in a Box

In it’s fifth year of programming, Periwinkle Day Camp serves patients ages 7-12 treated at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, and their siblings. Traditionally held in-person for a week from 7:00am to 4:30pm daily, The Periwinkle Foundation shifted to implementing Virtual Periwinkle Day Camp in light of the global health crisis. With a commitment to establishing a positive camp community, encouraging campers to grow in independence and self-esteem, and furthering the Periwinkle community of healing – the magic of camp was truly realized inside Periwinkle homes.

Before the week began, all 60 campers received a Camp in a Box filled with the materials needed for each activity, including arts & craft supplies, science experiment materials, and more!

Campers “plugged in” each morning to get the day started with fun energizers, and to join in cabin group conversation. Later, campers connected with staff and counselors via Zoom for activity sessions to complete together using the materials in their box, or items found in their home. Activities such as Minute To Win It – a game of 60 second challenges to accomplish silly tasks, science experiments, and Bingo were facilitated using items provided in the Camp Box, while other activities such as an at-home scavenger hunt, talent show, and build a fort activities engaged campers to explore their own surroundings, gifts, and talents to connect in the activity.

To engage the whole family, and increase flexibility and participation, campers were also connected to activities to complete “on their own”. For example, a series of arts & crafts materials were supplied in the camp box and accompanied by a video tutorial and instruction manual on completing the various projects. Similarly, two special recipe cards were included with a video to guide campers in the kitchen through a cooking activity to create at home. Additionally, in collaboration with with ARTreach and Young Audiences of Houston, two arts partners of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, campers were connected with filmed performances and activities to observe, create, and reflect.

Though no doubt campers and counselors alike missed in-person interaction, there was truly a community created throughout the week among children craving connection. One camper parent shared, “My child had something to look forward to in the morning, and got some energy!” Another volunteer shared, “Camp showed me that even without the physical interactions, we can still make great connections with people! I think that’s something many of us are learning during the pandemic, but camp helped emphasize that for me!”

Now more than ever, Periwinkle remains committed to fostering a positive environment for connection and empowerment. The Periwinkle Foundation staff and volunteer leadership are learning from experiences through Periwinkle Day Camp, and listening closely to camper and parent feedback as we plan for Camp Periwinkle, July 27-31, 2020. We anticipate delivering the magic of camp directly to the homes of 200 children through virtual Camp Periwinkle.

In thanks to dedicated individual, organizational, and corporate support, Periwinkle can continue to provide meaningful opportunities for connection and community to Periwinkle children. We are thankful for the generous support of many donors who have already given to Fill The Virtual Bus, a special campaign to fund Periwinkle’s innovate and creative programs this year.

We give special thanks to the community at CVR Energy for contributing a generous gift of $10,000 to Fill the Virtual Bus to positively impact the lives of children challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Because of their gift, Periwinkle is a stronger community of healing and better positioned to innovate camping programming this year for 550 children.

We know the positive impact and power in connecting children with peers facing similar challenges. We hope we can count on you to help us reach our Fill the Virtual Bus goal of $100,000 to connect 550 kids with Periwinkle programming.



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