Camp Okizu

I just got back from 9 days at a camp called Camp Okizu. I had such an amazing time! First of all,  have never gone to camp, even as a kid. My only frame of reference was from The Parent Trap with Lindsey Lohan.  Summer-Camp.jpg

A little background on Camp Okizu. It is located in Berry Creek, CA which is about an hour from Chico, CA.  Camp Okizu is an Oncology camp. They have weeks where kids who have or had cancer can attend, as well as weeks when siblings of those affected by cancer can attend. They also have family camps. There is always medical staff there to make sure the kids are getting their medication, and to assist with any situations that may arise. Every year there is a new theme. This year the theme was Superhero!

 

I went to Oncology week 1, so the population I worked with were kiddos who had cancer, or are currently going through treatment. The first two days were staff training days. There was about 40 of us counselors, and over the two days, we really got to get to know each other through playing games, and spending time during meals together. A lot of the counselors were either oncology campers themselves, or a sibling of a camper. There were also plenty of us who are interested in working with this population in our field. Because many of the counselors were campers themselves, Many of them know each other very well. They are all very welcoming to the new staff, and by the end of the 9 days you feel like you have known these people forever. It has been about a week since I’ve been home, and I am missing them all very much.

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Padfoot, Strawberry, Atari, Stat

In my cabin, I had 3 other counselors with me. Two of which were experienced, and one other who was new. To the 4 of us we had 7 girls between the ages of 9-12. The councelors all chose camp names instead of going by our given names. I chose the name Padfoot. (Points given to any of you who know what the name is in reference to.) We slept outside during the night, which was absolutely beautiful! I have never seen so many stars.

 

Our days were filled with tons of activities. As a cabin we got to do swimming, boating, arts & crafts, archery, fishing, hiking, etc. The kids also got to break off into Special Interest groups and do activities with other kids of various ages. During the week, meals were made special and unique by adding twists. We did a baseball lunch -the kids had to literally catch their hotdogs and chips, absolutely amazing lol!- we had meals outside with other cabins. We also had special events during the day – Mission in Metropolis – playing games to redeem for tickets, which the kids could turn in for a snow cone, or dunk a counselor.

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This is what the week looked like

This experience was absolutely exhausting, by the time I got home I was dead tired, I had a ton of mosquito bites, I needed a shower, and couldn’t wash my clothes fast enough. However, It was one of the most exciting and rewarding weeks I have had in a long time. I met so many amazing kids who openly shared their story with cancer, there was crying, laughter, and mourning the loved ones they have lost from cancer.

 

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids, or co counselors to have had this experience with. I will absolutely be back next year for Oncology 1! If you live in the area, I strongly encourage you to check them out!

Camp Okizu Website

Practicums and Internships

Finding the right practicums and internships is not easy! It is a lot of research on your own! So, while getting myself prepared to apply to everything, I have created two spreadsheets to help me get organized. Feel free to take them and use them however you need to! If there is anything you see needs to be updated please let me know in the comments and I will do so!

Please also remember to do your research. Hospitals sometimes put their student opportunities on hold. Always double check the website or give them a call to confirm information.

Some key pieces of information you should be asking for:

  • Is there a GPA requirement?
  • Do they need unofficial or official transcripts
  • Do I need to be affiliated with a university while completing the internship/practicum?
  • When is the due date for the application?
  • Is there a fee upon submission of the application or acceptance of the internship/practicum?
  • When do they offer the internship/practicum? (Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall)
  • Do my letters of recommendation need to be in a signed and sealed envelope?

I am navigating this confusing path as well! Please let me know if you have found or done something to be helpful on your Child Life Journey!

Child Life Internships 

Child Life Practicums

*Update: You should also check out Child Life United as you may be able to land a practicum or internship oversease!  www.childlifeunited.org

 

The end of Child Life month

Child Life month (March) was filled with a ton of excitement for me. Including getting a few fun prizes for a child life giveaway I entered.

I have followed Shani (Child Life Mommy) for the past few years. She was one of the first Child Life Specialist I contacted when I was looking for information on the field of child life. More recently, I came across Dawn (Dose of Play), Randi (Kid Cope Specialist), and Diane (Adventures in Child Life). These incredibly women have all been inspirations while navigating the field as well as creating this blog!

For Child Life month some child life specialists like to do give aways of something they have created, a favorite distraction/prep toy, or just something child life related. I entered a giveaway that I won! No joke, I was so excited about this, I never win anything!

I am excited to begin my collection of these toys and books so that when I do become a CCLS I will be able to use them! I also plan on playing with them so I can become more familiar with them and how they can help.

Be sure to check out their blogs and follow them on Instagram!

Child Life Mommy

Dose of Play

Adventures in Child Life also check out her Etsy shop

Kid Cope Specialists

 

 

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From Adventures in Child Life!

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It’s time for your check up from Child Life Mommy and Understanding Myself from Kid Cope Specialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some fun distraction toys from Dose of Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Practicums….

 

Practicum Envelopes

 

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are two hospitals in the area that accept practicum students. UCSF Oakland and UCSF San Francisco. I applied to UCSF Oakland for a practicum at the beginning of Feb. I was so excited about doing this, but that excitement was short lived. I got an email from the practicum coordinator saying that they only accept students who are affiliated with a university due to liability reasons. I was SO BUMMED. Of course I understood the reasoning behind this, but I was still frusterated. I gave myself the rest of the day to be bummed but then had to move on.

The next day I decided I really wanted a practicum and I was just going to apply everywhere. So I found hospitals who accept unaffiliated students in a few states over. I really didn’t want to have to move for a practicum, but I have come to terms that if I want a practicum (and I do) then I am going to have to move. Chances are it will only be for about 3 months…this is doable.

I have applied to Tucson Medical Center so far, and plan to also apply to Rady’s Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Children’s, UC Davis, and Randall Children’s in Oregon. Honestly, I chose places that I knew people who live in the area and places I have been wanting to visit.

My 3 big pieces of advice to you regarding practicums:

  • If you are not currently enrolled in a university make sure the hospitals you are applying to accept unaffiliated students. Call/email the practicum coordinator, introduce yourself first and last name, and ask a few questions.
  • They all have different application deadlines and requirements, be organized. I have a calendar specifically for application deadlines. I also have each envelope made out with a post it on it with the due date.
  • If you can get one, take it! The field is getting more and more competitive and a practicum will only help! I hope I get one!
  • Some feedback I have received regarding my resume is that I need to build it a bit more. I have volunteered at hospitals with the Child Life department for the past 4 years, but I think I need to choose more organizations. So I am going to look into:
    • Make A Wish
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • Local companies that do animal assisted therapy
    • Oncology/bereavement Summer Camps (for patients as well as families/siblings)

Good Luck!

March is Child Life Month!

Wow! We are 2 days into March and so far it has been great.

First, March is Child Life Month, so Happy Child Life Month!

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Second…drum roll please…I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL woo hoo!! Honestly did not think this would happen. I applied to one school, one. I do not recommend this at all. So please don’t do it! 🙂

As of Fall 2018 I will be attending the University of Minnesota through an online platform, getting my masters degree in Child and Adolescent Development and Child Life. Essentially it is a dual masters program. This will be the first time they are admitting anyone to this program.

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I was really on the fence about accepting this offer or not, but I’ve decided to just do it. I’ve wanted to pursue Child Life for the past 7 years, and I still do, so I need to focus on that. As of Fall 2018, I will officially be a Golden Gopher. Kinda a weird mascot, but I’ll go with it!

 

My class through UCSB extension – Intro to Child Life- will be coming to a close at the end of this month. It has been an awesome introductory class. I have really enjoyed the instructor as well as collaborating and hearing my peers ideas and thoughts. I highly recommend taking this course to test out the field a bit.

p.s. I got the super cute pin from Adventures In Child Life! Check out her etsy shop!

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