Summer camp is a time for children to have fun and make new friendships. But for children who have asthma, attending a traditional summer camp can be difficult because of their disease.
Texas Asthma Camp (TAC) is an annual summer camp just for children ages 7-14 who have asthma. Sponsored by UT Health Northeast, this year’s camp is scheduled for June 18 through 23 at Camp Tyler. Online registrations are now being accepted.
One of the oldest and largest asthma camps in Texas, TAC, located on Lake Tyler, has hosted over 2,000 children since it opened in 1985.
The six-day camp offers many of the same traditional summer camp activities, but under the watchful eye of a physician, trained medical providers, and camp counselors.
To be eligible for TAC, a child must currently be under a physician’s care for asthma. Campers will be chosen from those registered, based on disease severity and prior attendance at the camp.
According to Camp Director Rhonda Scoby, children who attend the camp learn how to better manage their asthma, what triggers it, and how their medications work. They also learn that asthma does not prevent them from participating and enjoying the same activities as children who do not have asthma, such as running, swimming, and hiking.
“The benefits of an asthmatic child attending camp are well documented,” said Scoby. “Published research has shown that for the year following attendance at an asthma camp, these children show better management skills and have fewer missed school days, physician and ER visits, and hospital admissions because of their disease.”
Campers are monitored closely at all times. UT Health provides medical support with a 24-hour, specially equipped clinic, staffed by on-site physicians and nurses. In addition, the camp provides valuable training opportunities for respiratory therapy students from Tyler Junior College, who serve as camp counselors.
A non-refundable fee of $25 is required to register for the camp. The cost per camper is a total of $275, which includes the registration fee. The camp is conducted by UT Health Northeast and supported by the Texas Chest Foundation Fund at the East Texas Communities Foundation.