Each year, Youth Rally hosts summer camp for kids and teens living with any sort of bowel or bladder dysfunction. The Youth Rally’s mission is to help campers understand that everyone has the same opportunities to achieve their goals regardless of medical or physical differences, and that they are not alone.
128 campers from the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Belgium came together at the University of Washington - Seattle campus on July 25-30, 2016. Take a look at these 12 incredible moments from this year's event that brought inspiration, motivation, fun and even some tears.
1. Fitness day
Campers and volunteers had the opportunity to try archery and learn the importance of physical activity despite medical and physical challenges.
2. Basketball for everyone
Representatives from a local adaptive sports program brought special sport wheelchairs so that everyone could participate, including those without mobility challenges.
3. Indoor rock-climbing adventure
The University of Washington - Seattle athletic facility let camper’s take over Crags Climbing Center for the morning.
4. Naturally creative kids
This year there were full-length chalk boards outside all the dorm rooms. Throughout the week the “door sign contest” encouraged campers to express their dreams and inspiration.
5. Youth Rally counselors are all sorts of silly
For themed events – counselors go all out. Volunteer counselor and Youth Rally CEO, Paul Hastings is ready for the opening night “crazy hair and whacky wear” bowling party.
6. Graduation ceremony
These 26 campers are all 17-years-old, and many have attended Youth Rally since they were 11. They're no longer campers, but will be eligible to apply for the counselor-in-training program in 2017 and beyond! They were presented with a certificate and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room during the ceremony.
7. Field trip to Green Lake Park
Campers couldn't wait to get into the paddle boats during the full-day field trip to Green Lake Park. What a beautiful day!
8. Journaling to promote self-esteem
Campers embraced the writing sessions, and their confidence grew as they openly shared personal stories with one another and the group.
9. Lip syncing and dance
This year was the first ever lip sync competition – and it was a hit! Campers took the stage singing song after song, dancing and having a blast.
10. RN’s are a fun bunch
Volunteer Registered Nurses and WOC Nurses provide guidance and medical expertise throughout the week. Just like the other counselors, they get in on the fun!
11. End-of-week party
The end-of-week graduation celebration never disappoints. This year’s theme was “under the sea” - campers dressed up, counselors costumed up, and everyone danced the night away.
12. Departure day
It’s an emotional morning saying goodbye to old friends and new. The kids spend one week together forming bonds and connections that will last a lifetime.
More than 30 years after inception, Youth Rally remains a community for young people to meet others who live with similar medical conditions. While we await 2017's event in San Diego, CA, there are many ways to help prepare for another incredible experience for youth who live with bowel or bladder dysfunction. Find our more at www.youthrally.org.