Camp Quality is not only a summer camp, but a year-round event that enhances the lives of former or current cancer patients, volunteers and staff. Free of cost, this camp provides care, companionship and opportunities to promote growth in these children and teens’ lives.
Cancer survivor and Blue Valley senior Ashley Thompson has attended Camp Quality for the past 7 years and is now a camp graduate.
From the ages of just 11 months old until 3 years old, Thompson suffered from leukemia. She heard about Camp Quality through Children’s Mercy Hospital.
“The nurses at Children’s Mercy asked me if I had plans during the summer.” Thompson said. “When I told them no, they said I should check out Camp Quality.”
Thompson said she feels a sense of security and family at camp.
“Camp is my home away from home,” Thompson said. “I have an extended family that I know I can count on if I were ever in need.”
Thompson attends the Northwest Missouri campus in Stewartsville, Missouri. There are 15 Camp Quality locations in the U.S and 4 in Missouri alone.
BV senior Regan Hamilton has been volunteering at the Camp Quality in the Greater Kansas City location. This is only her second year.
“When working [with] these kids, I see how they truly are just normal kids put in abnormal situations,” Hamilton said. “It gives me a greater appreciation for my blessed life.”
Hamilton said she became interested in Camp Quality after her friend, who used to be a camper, was going to volunteer.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity and she needed a friend,” Hamilton said.
Many exciting activities each day keep the campers busy. Ranging from swimming, quidditch, face painting, talent shows, performers, scavenger hunts and Thompson’s favorite part — prom.
Hamilton said she helps make these activities enjoyable for the campers.
“My job is to keep everything running smoothly and run errands for the senior staff members,” she said.
Last year for example, her job was to stack and unstack chairs, wash dishes after meals, serve meals and set up for activities. When she turns 18, she will be assigned one camper that she looks after the whole day to make sure he or she is having the best time possible.
“Getting to see these kids who go through so much hardship on a daily basis and still live their life normally warms my heart,” Hamilton said. “I can take this knowledge elsewhere when dealing with others who struggle with not only cancer, but mental disabilities or other ailments.”
Thompson has been given hope and a place to freely connect with others at camp.
“Camp Quality has made me much more confident about myself and has shown me that I’m not alone.”