Thankfully the only bears at this year’s Camp Ed Bear were of the stuffed variety.
This yearly tradition, which started in 1982, offered a weekend of fun and games at Camp Carl in Ravenna for 91 kids who have or are currently undergoing treatment for cancer or blood disorders at Akron Children’s Hospital.
“People can check their illness at the door at Camp Ed Bear,” said Doug Palmer, the hematology/oncology social worker and organizer of this year’s camp. “Everyone here is dealing with something. Camp Ed Bear gives them a chance to forget about it.”
This year’s theme had an international flare, with each cabin representing a different country, including Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Italy, Japan, China and South Africa. The theme carried through to meal time with internationally inspired offerings such as tacos and pizza.
Great weather enabled campers to enjoy paddling canoes, daring rides on zip lines and horseback riding. Inflatable bouncers and rock climbing walls helped keep the kids busy. And hot weather made the Shelby’s Sweets and Treats ice cream truck even more refreshing.
The Saturday night dance is always one of the campers’ favorite activities. This year, Kim Kozer offered campers a chance to learn some beauty basics before the dance.
At the Sunday awards ceremony, three people were recognized for 30 years of volunteer service: Theresa Parson, Colin Crites and Jacob Kropp. Nurses Pam Jones and Sue Neitz were recognized for 25 years and Carol Shaw for 20.
While arts and crafts are always a camping staple, the arts and crafts created at Camp Ed Bear serve a special purpose.
Under the direction of Cindy Ballway, a tree skirt and Christmas ornaments were created to auction off at the Project Ed Bear auction event in November, ensuring campers in the future will also be able to create some great memories in the years to come.