Guest Blogger – Through the Eyes of a Camper

girls at the turtle

The Painted Turtle is the most amazing, cool, fantastic, radical place ever!!! I absolutely love camp! It’s like magic, when your there you forget about everything that’s wrong. The counselors are great and the food is delish!!! Everything there is unforgettable. My Favorite is the high ropes, followed by the pool and archery. You can bond with everyone at camp because you all have something in common, no one is ever left behind because the people there understand. No one is ever laughed at or put last because of Arthritis in fact it’s like the opposite!!! You’re special because you have Arthritis. One night there is a carnival with games and snacks and dancing. Then another night there is a bonfire where you sing songs and dance some more. Then another night there is a dinner out where you eat somewhere other than the dining hall. At dinner out you sing and dance once again.

You dance so much by the end of the night your only wish is to go to bed. The songs and dances they teach you stick with you the whole year. You may find yourself singing a song from camp or dancing to a song they taught you. Then that dance reminds you of all your friends and counselors from camp. To sum up all that mushy gushy stuff and all those memories into one sentence… THE PAINTED TURTLE CAMP IS AWESOME!!! =)

By Mikayla Minnig. Mikayla is a 12 year old Arthritis Ambassador and Advocate. She testified in front of a congressional committee in 2009 on behalf of all kids with arthritis, and is active advocate, volunteer and fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation – in addition to her many other activities.

At Camp Esperanza, held at the Painted Turtle – Mikayla, my daughter Caitlin and their friend Alexa were known as the Three Musketeers:)


P.S. From Caitlin Ryan-

It’s even more fun because you get to meet new friends and be with great counselors. At the end, you don’t want to leave. It’s an amazing place with amazing people. For the rest of the year, I can always remember that there are others kids with arthritis… and that I’m not alone. When I’m having a hard time with my arthritis, I can always reach out to my camp friends, because they get it.

My favorite memory from camp was silly Olympics – which is where what you get to pour oatmeal and chocolate syrup on your counselor’s head and get as messy as you want.

I can’t wait to go back next year! I’ve already started packing!

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