Camp Newhope, Newhope ride set for June 22

Special to the Reporter

The next session of Camp Newhope is set for June 22.

Camp Newhope is a free program offered to children and teens, ages 6-18, who have a loved one with cancer.

There is time for group sharing, games, artistic expression and art therapy exercises to help children understand their fears and concerns about cancer in a supportive and nurturing camp environment.

Activities are developed and coordinated by trained counselors to promote expression and open the way for discussion from a child’s perspective.

The camp, established in June 2002, is sponsored by the Alabama Foundation for Oncology but was the brainchild of Crystal Bedwell of Chelsea.

&uot;Both my parents have had cancer,&uot; she states on the camp’s brochure. &uot;My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in the sixth grade and with endometrial cancer when I was a senior in high school. My father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when I was in the eighth grade. It was a scary time. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what cancer really was.&uot;

Bedwell says that after finding no resources to help understand the disease, &uot;I dreamed of beginning a support system and camp.&uot;

And with the help of its sponsors, the Junior League of Birmingham, the Chelsea Kiwanis Club, the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, Bedwell Development Corporation and Vann Owens Steel Inc., that dream has become a reality in Camp Newhope.

The camp is made possible by the volunteer efforts of professional counselors, social workers, clergy, the American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and UAB Cancer Support Services.

It meets twice a year, once in June and once in December, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at YMCA Camp Hargis Retreat in Chelsea.

Registration is required; however, there is no charge for the camp. Transportation is available, and donations are always accepted.

For information or to make a donation, write Judy Ault, Foundation Coordinator, P.O. Box 660833, Birmingham, AL 35266-0833; or call 205-877-2225