A weekend of laughter, canoeing and songs around the campfire might all be common to any youth summer camp, but for a special group of campers at Camp Bluebird, this usual summer fun also provides a chance to rest and relax, and gain renewed strength to fight the diagnosis of cancer that they live with daily.
Camp Bluebird, the first camp in Mississippi for cancer patients and survivors, celebrated its 21st year in 2010. The two and one-half day camp is held annually at Paul B. Johnson State Park and includes recreational activities, social events, devotionals and educational opportunities. The program is designed to minister to the whole person, provide fun and fellowship, and promote a sense of well-being among campers. The campers, all cancer survivors, are able to understand and help each other cope with cancer, cancer treatment and living life after cancer.
Forrest General Hospital, in partnership with the Telephone Pioneers, first sponsored Camp Bluebird in 1989, patterned from the original Camp Bluebird established by St. Vincent's Foundation in Birmingham, Ala. The name "Camp Bluebird" originated from the Pioneers' project of preserving bluebirds by building and placing birdhouses throughout the southeast. The bluebird is known as a brilliant blue, happy songbird of the East Indies - the perfect thing to represent the celebration of joy, hope, and determination shared by each cancer patient.
Today, Forrest General continues to sponsor and operate Camp Bluebird. The camp depends heavily on volunteers from Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg Hematology/Oncology Department, the ATT Telephone Pioneers, and other volunteers from the surrounding colleges and community.
The 2010 Camp Bluebird was held on April 16 through 18, with 72 campers in attendance and more than 80 volunteers and staff, many of whom have been active at the camp throughout its two decades. Pictured are staff members, volunteers and campers who participated in Camp Bluebird 2010.
For more information on Camp Bluebird, to be held again in April 2011, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445, then press 1.
For upcoming dates on Camp Bluebird, please click here, select Support Groups, and click Find Event.
To learn more about the mission of Camp Bluebird, click on this video.