CAMP AILIHPOMEH
Mission, Vision and Goals The mission of Camp Ailihpomeh (Hemophilia spelled backwards) is to serve the needs of boys from age seven to seventeen with bleeding disorders, providing a camping experience for a group of children who have traditionally been excluded from participating in other summer camp programs. The experience of camping with other children in a natural outdoor setting strengthens the child’s ability to cope with the daily physical and emotional challenges of a disability and/or chronic illness.  The vision of Camp Ailihpomeh is to be a place where boys throughout Texas meet and build strong relationships with other boys with bleeding disorders creating an additional support structure to provide a foundation for children living with this lifelong chronic illness.  The goals of Camp Ailihpomeh are to educate children about their bleeding disorder and its management, to provide a rare opportunity for these chronically ill children to come together as a group and share their challenges and triumphs, and to build a strong foundation through the relationships made while at camp. History In 1981 Dr. Keith Hoots organized the first weeklong summer  camp in Texas dedicated to young men with Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, from the Gulf States  Hemophilia Clinic. The 1981 inaugural camp was held in LaGrange Texas at Camp Lutherhill with Thirty-five campers attending that first year. After moving several times, in 1991 Camp Ailihpomeh found a permanent home at Camp John Marc in Meridian, TX. This was the first camp for children with special needs in Texas. Today, multiple Hemophilia clinics (Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio) have joined forces and Camp Ailihpomeh has continued to grow with about 140 boys attending. About camp Camp Ailihpomeh is a six day camp held on the beautiful camp grounds, of Camp John Marc in Bosque County.  When the campers arrive on Sunday afternoon they are assigned to a cabin of 7 campers based on age with 3 counselors.  Sunday is spent getting to know each other, touring the camp and participating in an evening activity. All the meals are served family style and campers sit with their counselors and designated Camp John Marc staff member.  The medical and behavioral camp staff is comprised of medical personnel from all the hemophilia treatment centers.  The success of Camp is due to the continued commitment from returning volunteers and the ongoing recruitment of new people from the community. The medical building is top notch housing doctors and nurses, and any other medical staff for the campers during their week-long stay. Challenge Courseprovides climbing challenges for campers to conquer. The boat dock at Camp is complete with canoes, kayaks, and hand-paddle boats. A beautiful outdoor swimming pool includes diving boards and a basketball goal.  The Arts & Crafts Building is the creative heart of camp. Pottery, painting, cooking, coloring and so much more provide campers tangible memories of camp.  The horse arena is large enough for lots of campers to enjoy riding courses and instructional time for beginning riders.  The Recreation Barn houses a full size basketball court and much more, serving many functions from sports and games, to dances, evening activities, and break time play.  Located just outside the Rec Barn, there is plenty of space to play softball, volleyball (on a sand court), soccer, water games and lots of other fun running sports. There’s also room to land the Care Flight helicopter here.  The Archery Range is located in a highly shaded area, and is a camp favorite. Shooting balloons, targets or even fruit, this location has the best breeze and shade at Camp. There are 20 cabins at camp. The cabins include air conditioning/heating, accessible toilets, 2 sinks, 2 showers, 10 twin size beds, and ceiling fans.  Each morning starts with the very popular, Polar Bear Swim!  Campers and their counselors are encouraged to get in the pool and get wet from head to toe before breakfast.  At the closing of camp week, a prize is given to each camper who participates every day in this long standing Camp Ailihpomeh tradition.   The day is split into 4 activity periods, a projects period and an evening activity.  The younger campers will spend  all of their activity periods with their cabin and rotate through a wide variety of activities during the week  including a ropes challenge course, boats, horseback riding, fishing, archery, sports and games and nature – where  campers learn about animals, spiders, snakes (all the things that appeal to boys).  The older campers spend two activity periods with their cabin rotating through some of these activities and the other two activity periods they may choose.  The project period is a period where camper may choose one of about 15 projects.  They will attend that project each day for the week. Projects include: lights camera action where they will write, film and edit a short movie, cooking, pottery, golf, soccer, and drums which has become a big deal to the campers.  Those who sign up to learn how to play drums practice all week long and at the Final Night Event, they give an incredible performance!   Each evening there is a camp wide event that is always a lot of fun.  One evening is always spent having a cookout under the stars where the campers prepare fajitas, rice, fry bread and hand cranked homemade ice cream.  This is followed by sleeping out under the stars for those campers who want to do so.  The last night is always a party with different games, and a chance to hear what the drummers have learned. Leadership Program (15-17 years old) The goal of the Leadership program is to provide a platform for adolescents to develop the necessary skills and qualities to become a true leader and find their highest potential; to discover their value not only at camp but in their families and communities. The Rite of Passage - In many countries and civilizations, adolescents are not considered men until they prove themselves to the elders that they can meet the challenges of being a man.  They must prove their independence, leadership abilities and strength of character.  In the Leadership Program, these young men will be asked to prove themselves to be a team player, responsible, truthful, a role model, considerate to all and able to follow directions.    The outcome of the Leadership Program for these young men is to gain confidence, inner strength, and a sense of belonging to community. Medical The medical team includes individuals from  the participating hemophilia programs The Quack Shack allows physicians and nurses from the Hemophilia Treatment Centers to provide for the medical needs and routine care of the campers, volunteers and staff.  Campers receiving prophylaxis are greeted by the nurses starting at 6 am each morning to start the factor infusion process.  Self-Infusion education is provided to all campers who need to receive it.  These children are taught by the nurses to master this skill throughout the week.  Parents are asked to reinforce these behaviors once the campers return home.  Education about their bleeding disorder is provided to each cabin through creative and fun activities.
© 2015 Texas Bleeding Disorders Camp Foundation Updated 12/2015