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The Difference a Week at Camp Liberté can make….

By: Margaret Miodeuszewski, MD & Claudia J. Posso-De Los Rios, MD

Greetings from Camp Liberté!

Camp Liberté, led by Dr. Danielle Marcoux and supported by the Canadian Dermatology Association, has been running for the past five years. The Camp is situated on Lake St. Pierre in Lanaudière, Québec and is hosted by Camp Papillon dedicated to the Association of Handicapped children of Province of Québec. Camp Liberté’s mission is to allow children, with mild to severe dermatoses, the experience to grow in confidence, make friendships and take part in an outdoor camping experience in a bilingual and supportive environment. All the while, medical staff ensuring medical compliance with topical creams, oral medications and of course, sunscreen!

Medical Staff Photo, 2013

It was up to the medical staff to ensure compliance with topical and oral medications. There was a significant difference in the skin severity of the campers, most improving drastically by the end of the week. As trainees, we realized the challenges that parents and children must deal with while implementing these treatments every day. It was inspiring to see how the campers interacted and support each other; it was a great demonstration as to how children embrace differences and thrive with this. We also came to understand how to manage treatment preferences, compliance and the right amount of cream for each child. At the end of the week it was evident that not just the campers, but also the staff had a memorable time! We realized the difference a week at Camp Liberté can truly make in everyone.

During these five years, a total of 79 children, 7 specialists, 12 trainees, 3 nurses and 11 volu

nteers have participated in this successful experience. This July/August 2013 a team of 7 medical staff accompanied 19 children to Camp Liberté. The team consisted of 3 Board Certified Dermatologists (Drs. Danielle Marcoux, Janie Bertrand, and Joël Claveau), 2 trainees (Drs. Claudia J. Posso-De Los Rios, clinical fellow – pediatric dermatology at the Hospital for Sick Children from Toronto, and Margaret Mioduszewski, fourth year dermatology resident at the University of Ottawa), 2 nurses (Doris Gagnon and Edith Dallaire-Tremblay), 3 student volunteers (Hanieh Zargham, Raphaël Claveau, Michèle Stanciu), and several Camp Papillon counsellors.

There were 19 campers this year – 1 from Ontario, 3 from Nova Scotia and 15 from Quebec.  The various activities the campers took part in included canoeing, archery, swimming, soccer, body painting, zip-lining, and a dinner gala where all campers prepared a short demonstration of their talent – whether it be singing, dancing or comedic exerts. In addition, children participated in an interactive educational activity related to sun protection, which later proved to enhance learning and compliance with safe sun protection practices.

Looking forward to next year!

If you have any questions, are interested in volunteering or would like to fill out an application for prospective campers aged 7 to 12 years old, please email Campers group photo, 2013.