Sunday, December 14, 2014

Care Partners - Unsung Heroes, by Deb Theriault

The following article was written by Deb Theriault, a member of the StrokeNet Newsletter staff, and published in their August 2014 Newsletter. 

http://www.strokenet.info/newsletter/2014/august.htm

If you have not yet visited their site, I urge you to do so as there is a wealth of information and articles on strokes published every month. 

In this article Deb addresses a role she calls Care Partner. As you read this you may see yourself being portrayed. I hope you come away from this with a sense of pride and self-worth knowing that you really do make a difference in someone's life and the support you are providing is also important as that of a Caregiver. You will see as she describes the difference between the roles.

StrokeNet Newsletter Editor: "Carers have many roles. Deb suggests that her experience shows that there should be a distinction between Caregivers and Care Partners. Read her article to understand where she is coming from."

Unsung Heroes

By Deb Theriault


Back in the 1990’s, I had to do many everyday things for my father, who had developed Parkinson’s disease. I handled all of his paperwork and financial affairs, made sure he went to the doctors and took his medications, was with him whenever he was hospitalized and, ultimately, had to find him a suitable assisted living facility. Once he was there, I then had to communicate with the facility people to make sure that his needs were met.

However, I didn’t consider myself a “real” caregiver since I didn’t have to handle my father’s more physically intimate needs. I remember attending a local Parkinson’s support group with an acquaintance whose father also had Parkinson’s. Unlike my friend, I didn’t have to prepare food for my father or feed him, help him with bathing or assist him with his toileting functions, so when the support group had a “caregiver’s recognition day,” I felt like a fraud when I received one of the white carnations that were handed out to the caregivers in attendance. I knew I was devoting a lot of time and energy looking after my father’s many needs, but I didn’t feel like I was in the same “caregiving league” as my friend.

Likewise, over the years I’ve received a lot of correspondence from spouses, partners and family members of stroke survivors who feel the same way. Many people who are in the survivor’s orbit often say things like:

“I’m not their actual caregiver, but I help them out a lot by reminding them to take their pills, going with them to the doctors, and doing errands and household chores that they can’t do anymore.” OR

“I don’t have to give them baths, get them dressed or brush their teeth, but I’ve taken over buying food and meal preparation, because their attention span is off just enough that I fear for their safety going out alone, or when working around a hot stove.” OR

“I now do all the finances, bill paying and other administrative chores, as well as keep track of all their appointments and medications, because he/she doesn’t have the concentration or focus that they used to.”

Some people may argue that the above duties actually do describe those of a caregiver. But others would point out that while these activities are a part of the stroke survivor’s total world, they don’t include hands-on activities such as personal hygiene, toileting, and feeding. If they don’t perform these types of duties, many spouses, partners, family members and friends of stroke survivors feel that they’re not “real” caregivers.

But, if these thoughtful, giving people aren’t caregivers, then what are they? Maybe it’s time to think of these individuals in a different light, and to “re-brand” their role as that of a “care partner,” someone who is deeply invested in the well-being of the stroke survivor, but who performs the less physically intimate tasks that keep the survivor’s life in order and enable them to live more normally.

This re-branding won’t be embraced by everyone, but a care partner designation helps to clarify the care partner’s role. It acknowledges that care partners direct and coordinate many aspects of their loved one’s day-to-day activities and care, even if it doesn’t involve feeding, bathing and similar functions. This designation also recognizes that care partnering is just as important as traditional caregiving, and that care partners are just as essential as caregivers, even if their associated tasks are sometimes different.

It should be noted that the caregiver and care partner roles often overlap and aren’t necessarily “static.” They can swing back and forth, as the stroke survivor makes progress but then experiences setbacks. However, as the stroke survivor once again becomes more adept and independent, his/her caregiver can transition back into the role of care partner in the survivor’s life.

Care partnering can also take place at a distance, as in the case of adult children who coordinate the care of parents who live across the country from them. It’s not truly accurate to describe these individuals as caregivers (since they’re not in close physical proximity to the people they’re caring for), but it’s easy to think of them as care partners since they’re still intensely involved in coordinating, and making decisions about, their parents’ daily care.

Most people learn how to be care partners “on the job,” but there’s a lot of information on the internet that can help care partners, and caregivers, to do their jobs better. Much of this info can be found on disease-specific websites, which provide advice to caregivers of people who have those associated illnesses or problems. For example, the Stroke Network has a wonderful caregiver’s forum for people who take care of stroke survivors.

But, there’s at least one resource out there that isn’t associated with any one illness or condition. The “Care Partners Resource” has a good website that addresses both caregiving and care partnering. They can be found at:

http://carepartnersresource.com/

Additional resources can be found by “Googling” words and phrases such as “care partner”, “care partnering”, “caregiving”, and like terms.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Things you should know about a stroke.

A stroke is caused by blockage of an artery or blood vessel preventing blood from getting to your brain cells. This blockage causes 1.9 million brain cells to die every minute. No age group is immune from a stroke. Even infants can have a stroke.

If not treated immediately, stroke will, among other things, affect your ability to speak, your ability to walk, and even to feed yourself. In general, you will not be able to take care of yourself. Getting immediate help can reduce the severity of these effects. Recovery can take a lifetime.

You can tell if a person is having a stroke by using the acronym 
F.A.S.T. 

to recognize the following symptoms:

F. (Face) - Does one side of their face droop?

A. (Arms) - If they hold their arms straight out in front of them, with eyes closed, does one arm slowly drift down?

S. (Speech) - When you ask them to repeat a simple sentence like, "Mary had a little lamb.", is their speech slurred or sound strange?

T. (Time) - Call 911 immediately!

Other symptoms are: trouble seeing in one or both eyes, confusion, severe headache, loss of balance and inability to move on one side of the body.

Calling 911 is essential because time is critical, and the Emergency Medical Technicians can do a preliminary diagnosis and get a stroke team standing by while they are en-route to the hospital. You have a very limited time to get effective treatment and much of this time is spent in diagnosing the severity and type of your stroke.

Certain types of stroke, such as Ischemic, can be effectively treated with a clot busting drug called t-PA. It is an FDA approved drug researched and developed by GENENTECH. 


t-PA must be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms to be effective.

You can reduce your chances of having a stroke. Know your risk factors. They include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and low physical activity.

Remember 
F.A.S.T. 
Face. Arms. Speech. Time.
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Here is a screen shot from our Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Learning Center that we use to promote stroke awareness.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

This is my new normal

article by Monica Vest Wheeler
song by Jessica Leza

I was so thrilled to put together this short video with photos I shot during the Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp for the amazing folks in Odessa, TX, thanks to the generosity of the Medical Center Hospital.

The music is what our music therapist composed with the exact words of our stroke survivors who shared many emotional moments during the entire weekend in early October. I was privileged to be involved with the survivor group and hear and commit their thoughts to MY heart and soul … a constant reminder of why our mission at Stroke Camp is so vital and means so much to ME personally and professionally.

I was deeply moved by what I witnessed all weekend, as you can hopefully see in these images. I love these folks. I love all MY campers everywhere! I love MY life!

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Blog editor comment: Thanks to Marylee Nunley, our camp Executive Director, who sent me this song created by our music therapist, Jessica Leza, and to Monica for making the video.

Click here to see the survivor song video. This will open a new window so you can click back to this one while it's playing and read the words or sing along with Jessica. And, maybe, shrink the windows so you can get them in split screen so you don't miss the pictures.

Be aware that the video starts with the second sentence, "Have some patience; keep it slow; I know"
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Survivor’s Song (I Want You To Know) Stroke Camp (2014)

Someone told me long ago:
Have some patience; keep it slow; I know
This is my new normal.

I just want common courtesy.
Fatigue doesn’t mean that I’m lazy. I know
I am who I’m supposed to be.

I want you to know that I’ve changed, but I’m still the same.
I want you to know that the stroke doesn’t change what’s inside,
and I’m doin’ the best I can.

We try to do so much, people don’t understand or know
All the frustrations we have.
The simple things still make me happy: music, coffee, and my family,
I know we’ll get through this together.

I want you to know that the Lord’s come a long way with me.
I want you to know that our God isn’t through with me yet.
And today He has blessed us all.

If someday I’m feelin’ down, let’s just get out of the house.
Did you know I still like to try new things?
If I laugh at the wrong time, If I’m happy but I cry,

You know, I’m trying to get myself together.

I want you to know I feel proud to do things on my own.
I want you to know to call me if you’ve got lawns to mow,
Even if it takes me all day.

One last thing for you to know: even if my words get lost -
Just don’t tell me never, ever.
I’ve still got my mind and heart and those are the things I need
To get me where I want to be.

I want you to know that I’ve changed, but I’m still the same.
I want you to know that the stroke doesn’t change what’s inside,
and I’m doin’ the best I can.
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lincoln, Nebraska, Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

I always enjoy camp at Lincoln, Nebraska. Actually the camp is at the Carol Joy Holling, Swanson Center, just outside of Lincoln, in Ashland. I've been to three of them in the last four years. I thought you might like to see what we do there and see the wonderfully crazy, and wonderfully warm, friendly people I meet there.

Our camps are weekend retreats, Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, where stroke survivors and their caregivers get to relax, feel normal, have fun and let us do all the work.

First, I'll introduce you to the campers and volunteers.


See, we had such a good turnout that they don't even fit on the page.

And here is where we camped. At the Carol Joy Holling, Swanson Center.

The building has very comfortable motel style rooms. Each camper couple has their own private room with private bath, and all meals are cooked and served right in the building.

The camp Director and Operations  Manager this year were Larry Schaer and Lauren Kramer, respectively, both from the Peoria, Illinois home office. Larry and Georgia Morris, also from the home office, were in charge of crafts and pampering.




If you've read about the previous camps I've posted on this blog you know that we always open with a drum circle lead by a Music Therapist. This year it was Jenny Denk. She did a wonderful job. She lead the previous years, also.







Jenny also provides music throughout the weekend for skits, mealtime grace and 
post-mealtime fun.


We always have crafts for campers to test their skills. This year we had coffee cups that could be decorated with marking pens and taken home to be baked in the oven to preserve the artwork.














One of the highlights of the craft time was a technique called touch drawing. It involves placing on paper what you are feeling right now. You'll notice the extra protection needed to prevent the paint from becoming a permanent part of your wardrobe. The thick paint is applied to a board and the paper placed on top of that. Then using primarily your hands, you rub, carve, scrape, whatever you are feeling at the moment. After that you can touch up with a stylus as you see here. When the paper is lifted and turned over, the results are some very interesting designs.












Another craft item was a memory board made up of magazine cutouts.

We also set aside time for pampering.

These macho guys got manicures, too








That includes manicures, makeup, massages, beauty tips, and meditation led by a trained... uh ... meditationer? (well, okay, I don't know the official title.) 





During free time we had fishing, 











paddle boating, 









                   canoeing,










and just plain relaxing and visiting.








We even had a campfire at night for relaxing around, enjoying roasting marshmallows and s'mores.













This year we divided the camp into smaller groups and had them produce videos based on popular 1950's movies. Here's what happens when we let camper imaginations run free:









No, I'm not even going to try to guess what the movie titles were now.

This year's theme was the 1950's and American Bandstand. 

We served our campers dinner 50's diner style.















And invited "Dick Clark" and his co-hostesses to emcee the American Bandstand dance show.











I think some of our 50's music struck a chord with some of our survivors because they couldn't sit still and had to get up and go to it.

After the show we had a live band out on the patio to finish up the night. The band was provided by one of our camp volunteers and Physical Therapist, Cali Carlson. Her father is the guy on the left, and her sister is singing. They entertained us for the rest of the evening with 50's and 60's songs. These kids are good!



This year is our tenth anniversary of providing camps for stroke survivors and their caregivers. We started off with one camp per year in Illinois back in 2004 and have since grown to 20 camps per year all throughout the United States, boarder to boarder. 

Next year we are planning to grow to 25 camps. 


We are also providing stroke awareness to the community through our trademarked Strike Out Stroke (tm) events at Major League and minor league baseball games throughout the country and through our MegaBrain exhibits and Learning Center exhibits at universities, shopping malls and convention centers.

If you would be interested in volunteering to help out at one of our camp please contact us at info@strokecamp.org or phone us at 866-688-5450 or locally at 309-688-5450.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Depression and Stroke

The following article is taken from the current issue of StrokeNet Newsletter at: http://www.strokenet.info/newsletter/2014/november.htm

I urge you to visit this site as it contains many excellent articles pertaining to strokes and personal experiences of stroke survivors and caregivers.

This article that addresses depression is authored by David Wasielewski who is a member of the StrokeNet Newsletter staff. 

You may contact David at: newsletter@strokenetwork.org

Tip of the day: This simple tip is from Claudia R Warner a contributor to the StrokeNet Newsletter. You may find her article at: http://www.strokenetwork.org/newsletter/juggler/juggler2014-11.htm

"One important, yet simple thing is a name badge. Wes has aphasia and wears a plastic name badge engraved with his name and the words “I understand you but it is hard for me to talk.” You can’t imagine the amount of positive comments we heard about this from doctors, nurses, therapists and anyone else who came in contact with Wes! They said it helped them so much in communicating with him."

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Depression and Stroke
By David Wasielewski

Reactive vs Clinical

As stroke survivors we, and often our caregivers, are tasked with overcoming a variety of challenges. The physical challenges that can accompany a stroke are obvious to those around us. The mental and psychological challenges are less so. A common challenge that we often face following a stroke is depression.

To an outside observer depression is often perceived as a profound sadness or anger that overtakes an individual. To the individual experiencing depression the situation is rather one where they experience a lack of these and most any other emotion. It is described by some who have written about their condition as a profound emptiness, a sense that one simply does not care about themselves and their surroundings.

The circumstances that would normally cause us to be happy, sad, angry, interested and curious simply have no effect. The connections that drive us though our daily routines, that motivate us to perform certain tasks, are lost for the depressed. For the depressed, life becomes empty and meaningless without these connections and emotional responses.

Psychologists identify two distinct types of depression. Reactive depression is where the individual becomes depressed as a result of some emotional or physical shock to their life circumstances. The loss of a loved one or a disaster that takes one’s house can result in a profound emotional shock that leaves one unable to process life events as they normally do. This is seen as a normal response to a traumatic event in one’s life. For most individuals it is something from which they recover over time. As the shock of a traumatic event wears off the individual is able to return to normal.

The other type of depression is called clinical. With clinical depression an individual experiences a depression that may or may not be related to a specific event. The individual becomes depressed and remains in that state for an extended period of time. Understanding the difference between these two conditions is often important for stroke survivors and especially for caregivers. In the process of stroke recovery it is normal for the survivor to take time to process their post stroke condition.

They need to recognize and process the mental and physical losses associated with their stroke. These losses are often significant and, as with the loss of a loved one, represent a severe shock to the system. The reactive depression associated with these losses is normal. The recovery from these losses might be extended due to the stroke if the stroke also affects the survivor’s ability to recognize and process this information. It is important to understand that the reactive depression is a normal part of recovery.

If, however, the depression remains for an extended period of time the survivor may need to seek help. The challenge with stroke is to determine what ‘extended’ means in your particular situation. It is often up to the caregiver to understand and recognize the condition and alert the proper medical professionals of your concerns. The survivor may not be able to recognize or understand the condition themselves.

The survivor may not be willing to admit to being depressed. Treatment for depression is important as a long term depression can affect one’s health, recovery and in the most severe cases can result in suicide. A depressed survivor is not motivated to exercise, concentrate or put forth the significant effort required for recovery.

The caregiver needs to help the doctor determine if a survivor’s activity or attitude seems normal for them or if there is some significant problem in the survivor that needs to be addressed.

It is important to recognize, as well, that there are effective treatments available that help a survivor overcome depression. Depression is not just an undefined emotional response but, as research suggests, can be traced to identifiable chemical imbalances in the brain. A stroke can alter the chemistry of the brain as it deals with the loss of cells and cleans itself. A stroke might also affect the limbic system that resides within the brain.

The limbic system is a collection of cells or nuclei that excrete or distribute mood altering chemicals throughout the brain. Brain cells communicate with each other by releasing then reabsorbing a variety of chemical compounds into the microscopic spaces between the cells. For example, when a danger presents itself, it is the limbic system and its chemical messengers that alert the body, causing the fear and anxiety associated with that danger.

In normal circumstances it is the limbic system and its chemical messages that cause us to be happy, sad, anxious etc. If these cells are directly damaged by the stroke the ability to experience normal emotions can be severely impaired. If the limbic system is not directly affected the brain may be altered in more subtle ways. These changes can affect one’s ability to fully recover from the short term, reactive depression described earlier. One brain chemical, Serotonin, has been identified as important in maintaining one’s sense of well-being. A Serotonin deficiency is often associated with depression.

The good news here is that once depression is recognized it can often be successfully treated. Medications that alter brain chemistry are available. Most readers will recognize Prozac as a treatment for depression. This drug blocks the reabsorption of Serotonin in the patient’s brain cells, often increasing the patient’s sense of well-being, helping to overcome depression.

Other treatments, too numerous to detail here, are also available. It is known that each individual can react differently to these medications due to the complexity of the brain. With this in mind, it is up to the doctor to experiment with the types and doses of different ‘antidepressants in an effort to determine which medication and which dosage will be most effective for each survivor

The point here is to recognize that, in stroke survivors, some depression is normal but extended periods of depression are not. Since we all know each individual is different we need to pay attention to what depression is and how long it lasts. We need to determine if and when it is appropriate to alert your medical team of the possibility of a clinical depression and seek treatment when necessary. Depression is a mysterious condition, even in healthy individuals. It is even more of a challenge to stroke survivors but needs to be recognized and dealt with in order to promote the fullest mental and physical recovery.

Much of the information presented here is contained in an instructional CD set entitled “Understanding the Brain” available through Great Courses:


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

September/October Camp Newsletter

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp
September/October 2014 Newsletter 

The mission of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors, caregivers, and families. This is accomplished through weekend retreats, as well as community stroke education and awareness events for the public.

From the Director's Corner 
Well, we have moved into our new office! Photos will be available in the newsletter link when it is added to our website www.strokecamp.org.   Click on the Media/News button and look for Newsletter in green type at the bottom. Keep in mind we're still a work in progress, but having everything under one roof is amazing. We have two large rooms that have been designated storage rooms. One is for long term storage (all those themed items and leftover crafts from the past several years) along with our logo-ware and adaptive bath items. The other storage room has our typical office supplies and such along with the things we will use for each camp season. It is a room where we can unload, restock, and get ready to reload for the next camp. 

Both rooms will get a face-lift during the off-season, which is getting shorter and shorter each year. We also have Lauren's open space office out front. There are three more private offices where Larry and I have chosen ours, and one additional office space that hasn't been identified yet. The suite wraps up with the huge room for our Chimers to rehearse as well as a place for our Board of Directors meetings. There's also a nice open space with a table and chairs for small meetings, lunch, etc. We have a little kitchen area and handicap restroom within the suite, as well. Outside there is a flat parking lot where we can pull up the van and trailer for loading with space to the back of the lot for long-term parking of those vehicles. (Mod Note: A flat parking lot is nice because now we can pull the trailer up to the door of the office without using a vehicle when it needs to be loaded. We don't need to hook it up to a vehicle to move it.)

While Lauren and I will take out the trash and such, I've designated John as our official custodian for the harder jobs. He loves to vacuum and clean things and will keep the space in top shape. So, thanks everyone for your support in helping make this happen. It took us a while but it is so worth the wait.
from the desk of Marylee Nunley Executive Director

Stroke Camp Cruise
Well we are getting some good results with reservations for our upcoming cruise that sails February 21st, 2015 from Port Canaveral Florida.  We will make stops in Cozumel Mexico and Nassau Bahamas before returning to Florida. The ship will dock at both stops which make it convenient for getting wheelchairs from the ship onto land. 

Thought I'd take just a bit of space to elaborate. Unlike camp, I won't be "in charge" of entertainment, activities and such on the cruise. The cruise line has that down to a science with lots of activities to enjoy on board, and optional tours on land. What John and I will be doing is relaxing and enjoying five days with some of the greatest people I've ever known. Three years ago we had about 60 people join us and we expect to exceed that this year. 

Our group will be seated together for dinner each night so we will have a chance to enjoy each other's company in the comfort of those who know and understand some of our challenges. We will enjoy the shows, activities, crafts, shopping and games that are available on board. Everything is optional, so if relaxing is your thing, that will be available, too. 

This cruise is not just for survivors and caregivers or folks who have been to stroke camp. It is for anyone interested in joining us. So, if you'd like to bring family or friends, feel free to join us for a great time. Johanna McCarty, a stroke camp volunteer, is handling the reservations and any questions you might have. She's a retired travel agent and helping us out so that we can cruise again. The flyer with dates and cost is posted on our website at strokecamp.org (click on box with the picture of the boat bow to the right of the screen and below our advertisement for the "Now What?" DVD) or contact Johanna for more information at 217-246-2847. 

Strike Out Stroke(tm)
It has been a wonderful season for Strike Out Stroke(tm), kicking off May 4th with the Atlanta Braves and culminated September 10th with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting 70 major league baseball games and several minor league games in between 

Our Strike Out Stroke(tm) staff has had the pleasure working side by side with Stroke Coordinators, Genentech representatives, stroke survivor groups, and community leaders while planning and executing all 19 different Major League Baseball Events across the country making this our biggest Strike Out Stroke(tm) season to date! 

It is always a humbling experience to witness the passion, care, and concern the caregivers and volunteers show to the stroke survivors. It is even more humbling and incredibly inspiring to meet and witness the strength, courage and progress from year to year of the stroke survivors. They are always willing to volunteer, greet the public and share their stories with grace, poise and energy. The Strike Out Stroke(tm) events would not be the same without our stroke survivor volunteers. They are the real heroes of Strike Out Stroke(tm).  It is for those survivors we are committed to continue the effort to create awareness nationwide and spread the F.A.S.T. message. We know that if we can educate more people to know the signs we will SAVE lives. We are all "first responders" when it comes to knowing the signs of stroke.


Would You Recognize a Stroke 
If You Saw One?
Learn the meaning of F.A.S.T.
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 Survivor Spotlight 
David Loger had his stroke in December 2012. Prior to his stroke, he was on the Volunteer Hennepin Fire and Rescue Department for 21 years, and on the Volunteer Putnam County Ambulance as an EMT for 22 years. Since his stroke, he continues to attend the monthly meeting with the other volunteers of the fire department.

In July of 2014 David received the Larry Wilt Citizen of the Year Award, which is an award that is given to a person from Hennepin, Illinois in appreciation for his continuing civic service and for making Hennepin a better place to live. David has always been one of those people who does all that he can to help others.

While serving on the volunteer fire department / ambulance, he was also working full time at a wastewater treatment plant. Even when he was volunteering on the night shift, he would respond for a fire, ambulance call, accident, or to someone's home to help them, and went to his full time job with little to no sleep. Neighbors would frequently call him at all hours and ask for his advice and assistance.

David has come a long way since his stroke almost two years ago. He is still receiving physical therapy and working hard to someday walk without a cane. He has been walking primarily without a wheelchair for about a year. He looks forward to continued improvement and his message for other stroke survivors is: "Don't Give Up!"
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 Do you know a stroke survivor or caregiver who should be featured in our next newsletter?
email: lauren@strokecamp.org or call 866-688-5450.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp at Oregon, IL

One of the camps I attended this year was near Oregon, Illinois at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center. This is a large facility with very nice motel style accommodations. It even has a zip line but we didn't get a chance to try that.

This camp was sponsored by: OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Health Systems, Swedish American Health System and Van Matre Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital.

I'm including a few pictures here to give you an idea of what we do.



This is a group picture of the stroke survivors, caregivers and volunteers who attended the camp.

 














Kyle and Lindsey Wilhelm were our co-directors this year.



And Stephanie Super was our Music Therapist.














Karrie, one of our volunteers, is showing off our camp welcome banner.




This is one of the lodge's out-buildings that housed some of our camp attendees and also served as one of our meeting places and one of our craft centers.




This year we celebrated our 10th anniversary of conducting camps throughout the country. We started in Lewistown, Illinois with one in 2004 and have since grown to 20. Next year we are expecting to have 25 camps. 


We conducted camps in: Monticello, Iowa; Prescott, Arizona; Princeton, Illinois; Woodland Park, Colorado; Ridgecrest, North Carolina; Red Lodge, Montana; Merkel, Texas; Long Valley, New Jersey; Crandall, Georgia; Ashland, Nebraska; Allens Park, Colorado; Elmhurst, Illinois; Green Lake, Wisconsin; and Lewistown, Illinois.





We do skits.








And play games.




We do crafts.









These are called Touch Paintings. The idea is to put on paper what you are feeling inside of you, and the survivors can turn out some pretty interesting art with only using their one good hand.




These are coffee cups that you draw on and then take home to bake-in the design.
Then there is the pampering...get your nails done, a massage,












How about a manicure?









Ok guys we also do some fishing. This is Randy, a recent survivor, and he knows fishing.



Maybe you just want some alone time to relax or perhaps some time to chat with new friends.






This year our theme was American Bandstand. Everyone enjoyed this. We dressed as car hops and served dinner 50's style.
   











Even "Dick Clark" and his studio hands were there to emcee the show.

















And how about a bubble gum blowing contest.





Well that pretty much wraps up a perfect weekend.

If you think you'd be interested in volunteering to help at a camp next year or want to attend as a stroke survivor and caregiver, drop us an email at info@strokecamp.org or go to our web site: www.strokecamp.org for more information.