HomeTabernacle NewsCamp No Worries creates a worry-free camping environment

Camp No Worries creates a worry-free camping environment

This year marks the 24th year of camp, with approximately 100 children in attendance.

Tristan Simmons, Wesley Grossmick, Gregory Spezzano, Ben Pirrong, Jordan Czyzyk and Austin Grubb are pictured on stage at Camp No Worries on June 26.

Camp No Worries is a place for children to do just that — have no worries.

The camp was founded in 1995 by Kasey Massa, who had the vision of creating a place for children with cancer to enjoy traditional camp activities while undergoing treatment. Siblings of those diagnosed with cancer are welcome to attend as well.

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Massa was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1986, at 11 years old. She felt she was missing out on the fun excursions that typically take place during summer break, and once she was a freshman at West Virginia University, she put her thoughts into action and started Camp No Worries.

Massa said normalcy was the main goal when starting this organization.

“Going through this experience and having gone through it firsthand, the memories are always of what you can’t do,” Massa said. “Just providing normalcy between the relationships of siblings and a respite for parents, and giving [children] a safe environment where they can look back on that summer and think ‘I had fun at camp.’”

The camp’s first year drew 14 campers for a four-day, three-night camping experience. The next year the camp was extended to a full week, and attendance escalated substantially to 72 campers. As the camp completes its 24th year, it has an average attendance of approximately 100 children. The cost of attendance is roughly $1,500 per child, however through donations it is free for children to attend.

This year’s camp was held from June 24 to June 30 at Camp Inawendiwin in Tabernacle. The campers range in age from 6 to 16, and the activities include swimming, boating, crafts, nature walks, archery, scavenger hunts, ziplining and more. This year’s theme is “around the world,” where campers get to learn about each destination throughout the week.

Once the campers reach age 16, they are eligible to become a leader in training for one year, followed by being a counselor in training for a year, and eventually a counselor. At Camp No Worries, the majority of counselors were former campers.

Medford resident Ben Anenberg began his journey at Camp No Worries in 2006, just two years after he was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. He met Massa during his treatment, where she suggested to his parents that he attend the camp, and he has attended ever since.

He is currently a counselor in training, where he says, “It’s fun to experience this from a different perspective. I had such a good time as a camper for all those years, and it’s really cool to see them having a good time and smiling and knowing this is going to be one of the best times of their summer.”

Samii Emdur has also been at the camp since 2006. She is a pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant registered nurse, who has the responsibility of making sure all the campers receive proper treatments and medications to remain healthy throughout their week at camp.

“We’re such a tight-knit family here, [counselors who were formerly campers] want to give back and they got to see the benefits of the camp firsthand, Emdur said. “Children get to come to a place where they don’t feel alone, and know that other people have been through the same thing as them.”

For more information, to become a volunteer or to donate, visit www.campnoworries.org.


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