It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three full months since the conclusion of MCBC 2023 when it seems like only yesterday we were at Camp Taum Sauk, staying cool at the heat relief station, challenging ourselves on the high ropes course, and working together to bring five of our camp volunteers lost in space back to their home at MCBC!
The theme of this year’s camp was “MCBC: the Final Frontier; boldly going where no camp has gone before”. And while we definitely had fun dressing up as aliens and astronauts, there was a deeper message to this year’s camp theme: at camp we challenge ourselves to reach that final frontier, that place within us that seems just beyond our reach. This can mean different things to different people: maybe your final frontier is wearing a bathing suit for the first time after your burn injury, maybe it’s reaching a little bit farther on the high ropes course than you did last year, or it could even be joining “Share your Story”. And at camp, the final frontier doesn’t seem as scary when you know you have a community of people who love and support you to help you get there.
This feeling of being part of a loving community is reflected in our campers’ responses to our annual post-camp survey:
Positive outcomes of participating in MCBC 2023 are also evident in responses from our MCBC caregivers: Almost 90% of caregivers expressed agreement with the statement “My camper’s self-confidence improved after attending MCBC 2023” and 75% expressed agreement with the statement “My camper felt less self-conscious about their scars after attending MCBC 2023”.
Every year we challenge ourselves to do something new and this year was no exception. While last year saw the introduction of Camper’s Choice Time, this year we brought back for the first time in a decade, the off-campus overnight for Stallion Campers. Led by Camp Medical Director Rocky and Pony Counselor, Jake, all 24 of our Stallion campers and their counselors spent the night off-campus at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. Campers prepared snacks beforehand, pitched their tents at the campsite, and hiked to Taum Sauk Mountain. In the evening, they gathered to share their hopes for the future, and wrote these down on pieces of paper that Rocky and Jake then took with them on their Summit for Seventy Journey to Whistler Mountain in September. We look forward to continuing this tradition for Stallion campers in the future!
We really leaned into our theme of outer space and the Final Frontier this year! We hosted two separate Evening Programs with an emphasis on the stars above us. At the beginning of the week we hosted a Star Party and part-time stargazer Krista Knuffman and her partner joined us from St. Louis City with an amazing and powerful telescope! That night we also heard from Activities Director Ms. Susana about the indigenous-inspired origins of the Sun and the Moon!
Later in the week, Mustang Group Leader Lo organized a camp-wide escape room which we called “Space Escape” with the end goal of locating five MCBC volunteers who were “lost in space” and guiding them back to their home at MCBC! Campers separated into teams and were asked to solve problems on space-related topics as a team in order to win a puzzle piece. Then, once the entire group gathered back together, the campers were able to put the puzzle pieces together and bring the volunteers home! Everyone enjoyed space ice cream afterwards!
When all was said and done, we watched as 65 campers from 4 different states across the region board buses back to their families, with a mix of sadness and excitement: sad that the camp week had come to close but so excited to turn our attention towards MCBC 2024 (July 28th, 2024 to August 4th, 2024!) and all the promise that it holds.
Until next year,
Director of Youth Programs