Camp for sick youth superb

By Clyde Davis

This column is geared to a special group of readers, though it may expand to include all of you with generous hearts. If you are in the first group, it is because you know a child who has or has previously had cancer. If you are in the second group, as most of my readers are, you may want to contribute to a cause that can truly make a difference in someone’s life.

The Camp Enchantment experience, held this year (and probably next year) in the Manzano Mountains southeast of Albuquerque, is geared to enhance the lives of New Mexico children living through cancer. (Most, or perhaps all states, have a corollary experience.)

Last week I was blessed by the opportunity to be a counselor there, instructing in several skill areas.

I could not imagine a better setting for a summer camp.

Since most of the kids were running on an energy level that was normal or only slightly below (still well above most of us grown ups!) the requisite hiking up and down hills at 7,000 feet wasn’t a real problem, just a challenge.

Archery, swimming, woodcarving, fishing, campfires, an overnight in the Cibola Forest (for teens) and of course skits and a last-evening dance were all part of the week. The true gift, though, was relationship building and risk taking as children allow themselves to be vulnerable to other children, and many times counselors, who face a similar challenge.
It is true that on a given year at this camp there may be faces missing from the campfire, children who have passed over or who have gone out of remission and are too ill to attend. It is also true that, compared to 20 years ago, many of these kids will live out a full life.

“Carpe Diem” — quality of life is so important. What many cancer survivors know is that we are not promised tomorrow. Today must be lived. Children given the experience of camp move one step closer to mental, emotional and physical health.

If you know of a child in New Mexico who is experiencing cancer, or if you would like to make a donation to Camp Enchantment, please contact Dorothy Nelson, our local American Cancer Society representative.

Oh, by the way — we desperately could use new archery equipment.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at:
clyde_davis@yahoo.com