United Nurses Provide Medical Services for HIV/AIDS Children’s Camp Program in Big Bear

July 2010

UNAC/UHCP Getting Active in the Community

Lorraine Costello, RN at Kaiser Downey, and a Camp Laurel camper have fun during arts & crafts time.

Big Bear, CA – Registered Nurses from the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) are among those currently providing medical care at Camp Laurel, a summer program for children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS offered twice yearly in Bear Valley. The RNs are providing medical services during the rest of the weeklong camp to all of the children and adults supporting the program.

“As an RN, I am committed to ensuring that all people who need health care have access to it,” stated Lorraine Costello, RN and a UNAC/UHCP member. “I think it is very important to give back to the community by volunteering. I enjoy having the opportunity to contribute to the camping experience of these children in such a constructive way.”

Each year the Camp Laurel Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, provides a summer and winter camp in Bear Valley to children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Based in Pasadena, the organization is always looking for medical volunteers to meet the medical care needs of the campers. This year, UNAC/UHCP reached out to its members in order to find some much needed volunteers for this year’s summer camp program.

“While we provide educational and support programs to the children, youth and families we work with on a year round basis, our camps are designed to provide campers with a meaningful learning experience filled with friendship and fun in a safe environment,” stated Margot Anderson, President and Founder of Camp Laurel. “We are grateful for all of our volunteers and are always looking for more each camp session."

During the camp program, children are encouraged to learn wilderness skills, play sports and develop many other human relations and life skills. The program provides an opportunity for campers to forget about their illness and just be children. By creating a medically and physically safe and structured environment where the campers can test their perceived limitations, Camp Laurel counselors are able to focus on developing the campers’ self-esteem, self-confidence and independence. UNAC/UHCP volunteers like Autumn Auston Kelly, RN, Lorraine Costello, RN, and Angela Granados, RN, provide their health care expertise to support the camp’s ongoing efforts to bring joy to the lives of these children. Volunteer applications for counselors and medical staff for the winter camp are due January 14, 2011.

# # #

The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals is the largest nurses union in Southern California. UNAC/UHCP, as the association is known, is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. For more information on UNAC/UHCP, visit www.unac-ca.org.

Camp Laurel Foundation, Inc. is a registered, non-profit organization founded in 1992 committed to improving the lives of children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Camp Laurel uses trained leadership and the resources of the natural surroundings to contribute to each camper’s mental, social and spiritual growth. Camp Laurel is free to all children across the country ages 6-17. For more information, visit www.CampLaurel.org.