St. Vincent’s Birmingham was the first hospital to offer a camp for adult cancer patients in 1985. Sponsored by the St. Vincent’s Birmingham Foundation, Camp Bluebird offers recreation, relaxation, crafts, and activities, and the opportunity to openly discuss the experiences and emotions associated with cancer with other survivors. Campers gain a better understanding of their non-medical needs and learn coping strategies from others that have made life-style adjustments through living with cancer. All meals, snacks and lodging are provided. Campers sleep on bunk beds in dormitory style facility or in double beds in a motel-style facility that is accessible for handicapped individuals. During camp small group meetings are held for self-help sessions and sharing. There is also time for arts and crafts, pampering sessions (massages, facials, etc.), and even lots of free time. The last night of camp is Theme night. Theme nights include such things as country western attire, hayrides, fashion shows, and an all around good time of dressing up in costumes and not worrying about such things as cancer. As a sign of hope, each camper is encouraged to build a birdhouse during camp. Family members and close friends are invited to attend the concluding luncheon.
The purpose of the camp is to provide:
A time for listening, learning, and sharing
Analysis of lifestyle adjustments in living with cancer
Family support: how to give it and take it
Management of cancer treatment and their side effects
Assessment of non-medical needs and ways to meet those needs
Creative outlets through the use of exercise, relaxation, arts and crafts
Participants describe Camp Bluebird as “a truly fun experience, with upbeat survivors sharing their experiences with cancer." Camp Bluebird provides an uplifting experience for campers to enjoy lots of laughter with emphasis on maintaining hope and a positive attitude.
Who Sponsors Camp Bluebird?
Camp Bluebird is funded by the St. Vincent’s Birmingham Foundation. The name “Camp Bluebird” originated from the Telephone Pioneers of America’s project to conserve southeastern bluebirds. Each camper will have the opportunity to build a bluebird house. The St. Vincent’s Birmingham Foundation offers Camp Bluebird at no cost to St. Vincent’s cancer survivors.
Who can attend?
Camp Bluebird is open to adults, ages 18 or older, who have been diagnosed or treated for cancer. It doesn’t matter if the cancer is in remission or if you are newly diagnosed. Camp Bluebird is planned and carried out by a diverse team of volunteer nurses, social workers, dietitians, physicians, pastoral care associates, and many other professional associates. Most volunteer staff members are employees of St. Vincent’s Birmingham who partner with other community volunteers.
When is the next camp?
The next Camp Bluebird will be held April 30 -May 2.
Where is camp held?
Amidst the beauty of nature, Camp Bluebird is held at the Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Alabama. It is just 50 miles from downtown Birmingham. St. Vincent’s Birmingham also provides a shuttle to and from the hospital if you prefer to meet there. Click here sumatanga.org/conf.html to see what accommodations are offered at Camp Sumatanga.
Sumatanga is located at 3616 Sumatanga Road, Gallant, AL 35972.
Click here to get directions from Google Maps.
To learn more about St. Vincent’s Bruno Cancer Center, click here.....
Monetary donations to assist with Camp Bluebird meals, crafts, lodging, and
other expenses are accepted at any time.
Make checks payable to:
2800 University Blvd., Suite 304
Birmingham, AL 35233