The first-ever Campference was a chance to connect and get creative with friends and family!
The IFOPA’s first-ever Campference took place August 2-3. The two-day, virtual gathering brought together kids living with FOP and their siblings for some hands-on fun. Counselors Carli Henrotay, Cody Hunt and Erin Danzer, all of whom have FOP, worked with four facilitators from a variety of fun-focused backgrounds to lead the festivities.
Before the event, campers attended a virtual meet-and-greet where they decided on team names, themes and colors.
Day One: Campers Show Their Team Spirit
Everyone agreed, the theme for day one would be nature. Campers showed up ready for action and sporting their favorite rainbow attire. Things kicked off with some friendly competition during a team trivia contest.
“My favorite part of the morning was finding out I knew the answers to questions I didn’t think I knew when I was playing the trivia game,” said camper Savannah.
The teamwork didn’t let up from there. Later, campers explored different ways to improvise play so that whether they are at home, in the car or in a medical setting, they have the tools to create moments of fun and playfulness wherever they go. Attendees had fun learning from one another in the virtual hangout room. The counselors felt inspired, too.
“My experience with Campference was amazing!” said counselor Cody. “Meeting everyone who shared a similar situation as myself, yet was still different at the same time, was a great learning experience!”
After a mid-day break, campers came back together and entertained one another by learning about different types of jokes and sharing their favorites. Day one wrapped up with some entertainment and the reveal of a collaborative project the group had worked on together. Facilitator Michael Garner invited both campers and counselors to write limericks that he used to create a special song which you too can enjoy below!
Day Two: Time For Some Hands-On Creativity
The theme for day two was fruit, and everyone was decked out in blue. Campers began the day with a fun scavenger hunt before arts and crafts. Facilitator Susan Reiger helped attendees make their own mandalas and trees of strengths using just a few supplies like markers, coffee filters and paper. With a little hands-on creativity, campers transformed everyday household items into works of art.
“My favorite part was creating mandalas during the art session because it was fun and colorful,” said camper Noor.
Susan enjoyed seeing the kids share their creations with one another and watching some discover new passions.
“I loved the way the participants related what we were doing to each other’s artform, like Noor sharing her scrapbook or Addie, her embroidery,” said Susan. “It was a joy to see the kids inspired and wanting to continue making mandalas at the end.”
In the afternoon, campers explored how sound, vibration and music can be used to support them mentally and physically. Like all the other activities, it proved to be a fun and creative way for participants to be able to continue enjoying the fun they learned about at Campference, even after their time together came to an end.
A First-Time Success!
“Seeing all the kids on screen learning and taking in what everyone was teaching them was pretty awesome!” said counselor Cody. “They are all talented and have such fun personalities. I think they really enjoyed the hands-on activities!”
Susan credits Cody and his fellow counselors with helping to make Campference such a successful and welcoming event.
“The kindness and empathy of the group shine through,” she said. “The counselors were great participants and role models.”
Thank you to all who attended the first-ever Campference! If you couldn’t join us this year, you can learn more about the event here, and perhaps even try some of the activities at home with family and friends.