1. The year the world stayed connected, remotely.

Camping and technology are two concepts we often do not pair together. However, in 2020 that is exactly what Camp Korey did, we stayed connected.

Tasked with how to bring compelling, engaging, and virtual camp programming to children hardest hit by the pandemic, those with a life-altering medical condition, the creative drive of a committed team kicked into gear.

Prior to COVID-19, Camp Korey recognized and understood the impact of childhood social isolation and the anxiety that can manifest from the unknown through the lens of our campers and their care providers. For 15 years, we have had the unique opportunity to learn about the challenges and obstacles they face daily from frequent handwashing to hospital grade HVAC home installations, to time sensitive medication disbursement, doctors on speed dial to enhanced safety and cleaning protocols. Staying healthy pre-COVID was already an around the clock job.

Then COVID came and the repercussions of this global pandemic had an immediate ripple effect for the children we serve – many of whom were already frequently in the hospital and on a first name basis with their doctors and nurses. Being a child with a reconstructed pelvis or mitochondrial disease, cancer, sickle cell, even an organ transplant meant one thing was for sure – for the first time in history the entire globe would now also better understand the feelings of isolation and anxiety of the unknown. We were all in this, together.

The reality is that the pandemic has changed all of us. However, instead of waiting for the promises of a brighter tomorrow, we rallied our Camp Korey spirit in that moment and started the spark to illuminate a path forward with the help of our community.

This amazing community is a fellowship of passionate volunteers, staff, donors, supporters, families and of course, our resilient campers. It is through embracing our sense of belonging and shared connectedness we were able to create an impactful 2020 camp program that has touched the hearts of campers and volunteers globally. From the West Coast to the Southeast, across the Atlantic Ocean throughout Europe and Asia, back to our home in Mount Vernon, WA – we stayed connected as we passed the Korey heart.

In thanks to the tremendous community partnerships created and our Camp Korey friends such as Washington State University, Museum of Northwest Art, the Lions Club District 19-H, StickerGiant and Tickettyboo Hot Chocolate together we have delivered smiles, shared beautiful and FUN moments, and told stories that warm our hearts and keep the campfire burning at Camp Korey.

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