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Not your average summer camp

Summer camp season is right around the corner. For many of us, this may bring up thoughts of marshmallows roasting over an open fire, camp songs, swimming, and the occasional game of Capture the Flag. While these memories are a large part of the traditional camp experience, EMHS and Eastern Maine Community College offer a unique take on camping that provides teens the opportunity to explore healthcare careers through a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

IMG_1366.JPG“Adventures in Healthcare, formerly Camp Survivor, is a four-day overnight camp for high school students hosted at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor,” explains Sheree Tillson, recruiter in the EMHS Talent Acquisition department and one of the organizers for the camp. “During these four days, teens ‘test drive’ healthcare careers through a variety of activities from suturing and taking x-rays to wheel chair races and water challenges.”

Adventures in Healthcare got its start in 2010 and was modeled after a similar camp already hosted by TAMC in Presque Isle. Lori Dunivan, associate vice president and nursing informatics officer at Acadia Hospital, was part of the original organizing committee. “The organizers of TAMC’s program gave us a strong start by providing us with a framework and ideas to launch our own program. What we liked about this program is that it offered an invaluable experience by getting kids interested in healthcare early so that they can start on a path towards a career. In a time where recruiting workers in the healthcare workforce is becoming increasingly important, engaging young adults early through a safe and exciting program complements other recruitment strategies already in place.”

IMG_2088.JPGLori’s daughter, Libby, was a camper during the early years of the program. She says that while she always had an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare, the camp helped her to see the many different options within the field. “Every day was packed full of interesting, hands-on activities that exposed us to different possibilities within healthcare,” she shares. “It was an eye-opening experience to see many things that I take for granted on a daily basis. For example, one of my favorite parts of the program was learning about different disabilities and challenges some patients may face every day.”

Libby is now going into her third year of the PharmD program at the University of Rhode Island. Sheree shares that Libby’s introduction to healthcare is very similar to others who have gone through Healthcare Adventures and that campers benefit in a variety of ways. “One unique advantage this camp offers is that it provides a network of support for students interested in healthcare. By participating, campers make connections with healthcare professionals in their own community—connections that can help guide students long past their time at the camp,” she commented.

IMG_1491.JPGWhile there is something to be said for nature hikes, swimming, and campfires, Healthcare Adventures offers more than fond memories—it offers these young adults a glimpse into a future with endless possibilities. “This is what sets this camp apart from others,” smiles Sheree.

This year’s camp is June 25-28 and the registration period runs through May. For more information about Healthcare Adventures, call Alissa Gervais at 207-974-4796 or go to www.emcc.edu and search for “Adventures in Healthcare.”