Boston Hemophilia Center

Contact the Boston Hemophilia Center 617-355-6101
International +1-617-355-5209
Contact the Boston Hemophilia Center 617-355-6101
International +1-617-355-5209

What NEHAs Virtual Family Camp Means to Me

by Britnee ”MamaBree” Vieira

At the age of 12, my grandparents mentioned New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA) had a camp in Maine. My grandparents took us to many different events for NEHA over the years. This was something we did together, because my grandfather, Matty Vieira, had severe hemophilia A, and my two siblings, my father and I had von Willebrand disease.

I was not the outdoorsy type at all, and when I heard the word "camping," I assumed it was in a tent and sleeping in sleeping bags and all that jazz. I was not interested at all. In the summer of 1997, my siblings went to NEHA Family Camp, and I stayed home. But when they returned home, they had all these amazing stories about wood shop, swimming in the lake, making arts and crafts, and so much more - but the really good news was that they stayed in a CABIN not a tent! I was hooked! And for the last 20 consecutive years, I have been going to NEHA Family Camp.

During the last two decades, Family Camp has gone through a lot of changes and so have I. But one thing that stays constant is the feeling I get each year when I return. Although, this year was a bit different. 

During the last two decades, Family Camp has gone through a lot of changes and so have I. But one thing that stays constant is the feeling I get each year when I return. Although, this year was a bit different. COVID-19 has changed a lot of the programming we do as a community. For several years, I have worked behind the scenes on the planning committee, and when we discussed the possibility of camp going virtual, it was a big task to take on. There were so many emotions about such big changes — like not physically going to camp and being without with my extended family. That was a lot to take in. How do we go about doing this?

I found being able to help plan for virtual camp behind the scenes made it all the more special. In general, there are a lot of moving pieces that go into making camp great and this year was no exception. Even though we are feeling “zoomed out” as I call it, we still were able to maintain that connection virtually. We chose our theme of “Ohana '' and proved that mantra camp is not just a place. It’s a feeling that lives in our hearts! I truly feel camp all year long.

This year, we had a wonderful welcome session utilizing breakout sessions to help duplicate the educational sessions we always have during camp. Even with this virtual experience, we were still able to have those connections, see the smiling faces and all the families interact using an app. We were able to participate in our virtual campfire and host a fun medical-themed scavenger hunt for the whole family. I know this community is a wicked strong family and even though we were apart this year, we were still able to feel connected in the best way possible.

 

 

Read about a family’s experience at NEHA’s Virtual Camp. 


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