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Letter to Parents from FACES Camp Director

Updated: Apr 4, 2023




Dear Parents of Prospective Campers,


I love getting to be a part of FACES Camp. This kind of thing was not around when I was growing up. You see, I was born with a craniofacial anomaly, and eleven years ago, I had a son who also was born with one. I guess you could say that I have a unique perspective since I have it, and I have a child with it.


As a mom of a child with medically complex issues, I noticed that we tend to do everything for our children because we are there. We want to make it easier for them, to help them, and to be good parents, but in doing that, I realized that a piece is missing: our child's independence. In 2018, I began researching camps. At the time, my son had a Trach, and I quickly realized there wasn't much out there that could accommodate certain medical issues (i.e., Trach, Shunt, CPAP machine, Feeding Tubes, etc.). I wanted a place for craniofacial children where they could all come together for a week and be just regular kids. I wanted it to be a week-long camp. That was important to me because I feel like, given that amount of time, the children are allowed to grow and change, and the seed of independence is planted – in essence, they figure it out for themselves. And we had to have nurses on staff to ensure our kids could be their normal, crazy selves. So, the idea of FACES Camp for children with craniofacial anomalies and their siblings or buddies was born. In 2019, we held our first camp, which was awesome, wonderful, and amazing, so we decided to keep doing it!


In the five years we have been doing camp, I know the kids love it, need it, and return each year. It's important for kids to know that they can do almost anything they set their minds to, regardless of their facial difference. FACES Camp is a normal, traditional summer overnight camp experience. They sleep in a cabin with other kids similar to them in age. Our campers do daily activities requiring kids to run and walk over long dirt paths and expansive greenways on a 70-acre wooded campus on a beautiful mountain in Georgia. They are so tired at night that they barely miss their cell phones - which are not allowed at camp.


The kids can do everything from ball sports, extreme games, drama, crafts, tag, horseback riding, and archery. We have a lake, and the kids can kayak, canoe, and fish. The swimming pool is a popular spot on a hot day at camp! The kids go hiking and experience nature. The kids sit with their cabin mates for three meals daily in the dining hall.


The future of FACES Camp lies with our campers. I hope that we continue to grow and flourish. I want to ensure that when they come to camp, they can be together, have fun, and enjoy one another's company, giving them the independence and freedom to grow and be themselves with their friends; this is life-changing for some of these children.


I certainly hope to see your child at camp this year. Our camp is July 9 -14 and the registration deadline is May 15. We have tuition and travel scholarships and the deadline is April 15. To register go to www.facescamp.org.


If you have questions about your child's specific needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at ashely@faces-cranio.org.


Sincerely,


Ashley Rhodes

FACES Camp Director

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FACES: The National Craniofacial Association
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