Inflammatory bowel disease often appears for the first time in childhood or adolescence. For some children and teenagers, the onset of this disorder can make attending a summer camp next to impossible.
Fortunately, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has designed residential camps around the country to enrich the lives of children with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis by providing a safe and supportive camp community.
For 2008, the IBD summer camps will be held in the following states: California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. More detailed information about the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation camps can be found at http://www.ccfa.org/kidsteens/camp_calendar.
It appears that attending one of these specialty camps may provide more than just summer fun for kids and teens. The Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia investigated whether or not attending an IBD summer camp improved the quality of life of the children and adolescents who attended with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. The researchers looked at six quality of life areas:
- bowel functioning
- overall symptoms
- emotional functioning
- social functioning
- body image
The researchers asked the campers to complete a questionnaire when they arrived at the camp, and then again at the end of camp. The researchers found there was a significant improvement in the children's health related quality of life after attending the IBD summer camp. The study was based on a small sample, but the results are promising as far as the potential for an IBD focused summer camp to increase children's social functioning and help them to better manage their IBD symptoms and treatment.