For the past seven years, the National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, has sponsored Camp Gilda, a free week-long summer day camp for youth ages 6-12 who have a cancer connection. Through a series of workshops promoting self-care and healthy living habits, a Special Ask the Doc cancer education component and field trips that provide some wet and wild fun, kids are better able to cope with the changes a cancer diagnosis brings.
The theme of this year’s camp is School of Rock and the session will run from Monday, June 23, through Friday, June 27, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and will be based at Gilda’s Club.
“The camp is a win-win not only for the children touched by cancer, but for the NCJW volunteers who help with the camp,” said NCJW member Judy Shapira, who also is on the board of Gilda’s Club Louisville. “These campers’ lives are filled with fear and worry about losing a loved one or even dying themselves. They have been forced to think and feel like an adult and to comprehend emotions no child should have to face. And for this one week, the women of NCJW help them to act and feel like children. We help them understand they don’t have to face the cancer journey alone.”
Gilda’s Club Marketing and Communications Director Suzanne Goldring, believes the children’s lives are enhanced and enriched by NCJW’s support. “Not only does the group sponsor Camp Gilda financially,” she said, “but they also give of their time as volunteers by providing, preparing, serving and cleaning up after breakfast and lunch all week for 30 hungry campers. They also act as morning and afternoon greeters, assist with programs, help with field trips and do behind-the scenes prep for the Friday carnival. Campers love the volunteers and give them their fair share of hugs every day.
“We honestly could not provide this program without the help of NCJW – they are integral to its success and are synonymous with ‘Camp Gilda’,” Goldring said.
To register a child who might benefit from the camp experience or need more information, call Missy at 583-0075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the ranks as a Camp Gilda volunteer, contact Jessica Carner, director of volunteer services, at 583-0075 or email email@example.com.