Category: Health Magazine, Summer 2024

Title:More than a decade of summer camp fun

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: June 14, 2024
Participants and counselors alike enjoy time together each summer at the HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp.
Participants and counselors alike enjoy time together each summer at the HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp.

Being a kid in the summer means time for fun and games, but many families aren’t able to afford organized summer camps. That’s why the Georgetown HOYA Clinic began a summer sports camp in 2012 just for local kids experiencing homelessness.

Each year, roughly 60 School of Medicine students act as camp counselors for young participants connected to The Triumph, a short-term family housing organization in Washington, DC’s Ward 8 that has housed one of the HOYA Clinic locations since 2019.

While the camp was founded around sports activities like basketball, four square, kickball, and jump-roping, camp experiences have grown to include sack races, arts and crafts, and swimming. A recurring “camper favorite” tradition is the annual Egg Drop Challenge, in which campers craft vessels to safely cradle a raw egg as they drop it off a 30-foot high fire truck ladder.

One element of the camp activities is especially important for underserved communities: basic water safety.

student with campers doing crafts

“Each year, it’s encouraging to see campers gain confidence during the pool session,” says Michael Covell (M’26), last year’s co-coordinator for HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp. Some campers “are initially hesitant to get in the pool, but throughout the morning they get more comfortable and begin jumping in, swimming, and loving the session.”

Covell explains that each camp session requires significant preparation. Organizers begin working with The Triumph in May, planning logistics, gathering park permits, and eventually registering campers.

It’s fun for the kids, but the summer camp is also a welcome event for new and returning medical students. “Our summer camp is a great way for current medical students to step back from their studies and serve the communities in which they live,” Covell says. “A lot of medical school feels like preparation for a future of service—our summer camp is a rewarding way to connect in the present and grow our relationship outside of typical HOYA Clinic operations.”

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