Camp Achieve: Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania
We would like to dedicate this post to Mike Loughlin, a dedicated and long-term volunteer counselor at Camp Achieve who passed away suddenly on August 19, 2022.
He was adored by all who knew him and was known for his humor, positivity, and dependable and helpful nature. He was a big part of what makes Camp Achieve so special and he will be hugely missed.
Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania
August 14-19, 2022
Camp Green Lane in Green Lane, PA
Everest Discovery founder and president Sue Pellegrino has been volunteering at Camp Achieve for the past 15 years, and the company has also participated as a corporate sponsor. Camp Achieve is a weeklong sleepaway camp for kids with epilepsy between the ages of 8 and 17 and is hosted by the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania. Activities at the camp include swimming, wall climbing, arts and crafts, tennis, golf, canoeing and more. The camp fosters education and teaches kids about their seizures as well as providing peer exchanges and camaraderie and helping to build confidence and self-esteem. This is an organization that is near and dear to Sue due to her family connection to epilepsy.
When her younger sister Maria was just 18, she had her first seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Since then, she has had to go through major brain surgery and has had to deal with the disease for many years. As a result, Maria has also been volunteering at the camp for many years and has become a mentor to a former camper for the past eight years. She participates in many activities to promote the Epilepsy Foundation and Camp Achieve.
“This camp is a special place,” states Sue. “It is run 100% on volunteer work – everyone from the trained volunteers to the nurses and neurologists that come from various health systems in the area such as CHOP, St. Christopher’s, Penn and Jefferson. It’s special to see all these people coming together so these kids can have a safe and fun environment for enjoying the outdoors and participating in games and activities, all while making friends and forming bonds with others that have similar challenges.”
While Maria stays on-site all week and is a camp counselor to the kids, Sue goes on the first day to help make sure all the kids get checked in and are ready for a fun week! When they arrive, the kids and their parents meet with a nurse to review all their medications and log them into the system. Once their pill boxes are all prepared for the week, the kids gather their belongings and their new camp T-shirt and make their way to their assigned cabin where they meet with their cabin counselors, make up their bunks, meet their roommates for the week and decorate their area.
And since drop-off can be emotional for both the kids and the parents, all the parents head off to the local Country Club for brunch where they meet with the supporters, volunteers and other parents so they feel more comfortable and confident leaving their children. This is a great way for the camp to support the families as it gives them the opportunity to make some great connections and share their feelings with others on a similar journey.
If you are interested in supporting Camp Achieve or want to learn more, here are some links:
To learn more about Camp Achieve: https://www.efepa.org/programs/camp-achieve/
To donate to Camp Achieve: https://www.efepa.org/donation/