In a weekend full of color, magic and friendship, San Gerardo de Dota in Costa Rica held the 6th Daniel Project Friendship Adventure Camp in order to offer 53 children suffering from cancer the chance to learn, overcome obstacles and share an experience with other young people in similar situations.
For three days, the campers took part in unforgettable adventures, leaving their fears behind and scaling walls or climbing to the top of a tree and then swinging on a hammock. The camp also offers workshops and craft areas; as well as moonlight karaoke and the traditional Saturday night party.
The youngsters enjoy a transformative experience over three days. “This weekend helped me to gather the strength to keep fighting and find myself again, to do things I never thought I would do like jumping from a tree and flying” recalls Valerie Hoffman Ramírez, a 17 year old patient.
These warriors are always trying to beat their own records. Fernanda Boza Castro, 22 years old, shares his experience with us. “Campers who have recently undergone surgery can't take part in certain activities, but this year I challenged myself to try each and every activity I thought I couldn't do or I was too scared to do, and it is really satisfying to know that I could do them, that fear is only in the mind and I am capable of so much”.
For Juan José Zúniga, a Red Cross Volunteer, “it is so fascinating to see the change the camp brings out in the young people. At the beginning you can see the nervousness in their faces and even a certain amount of fear of the unknown. At this camp they undergo a wonderful change and three days later they are a different person. Teenagers who didn't have any friends and any confidence suddenly become more confident, they start to develop strengths and abilities that perhaps they had previously concealed and which the camp environment enables them to release from deep within themselves”, he states.
Holding the camp requires logistics planning aligned with the needs of the participants and involves medical staff, nurses, medicine and an ambulance. Fundación MAPFRE volunteers also take part. The experience is also great for them too. Elena Navarro, a Fundación MAPFRE volunteer, found that taking part was an absolutely wonderful experience for her. “I leave here with a heart bursting with pride and gratitude” , she adds.
For everyone taking part, the Friendship Adventure Camp is a place where no one ever stops smiling, where dreams come true and where it is possible to overcome your fears.