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Spirit of Acadiana: The return of Camp Bon Coeur

Posted at 7:34 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 20:34:24-04

For 36 years Camp Bon Coeur has been the safe harbor for kids dealing with heart defects. But last year, the pandemic kept Camp ‘Good Heart’ from opening, kept some great kids from realizing they are not alone.

“For my campers, a lot of them didn’t get to leave the house for months and months and months,” says Camp Bon Coeur Executive Director Susannah Craig. “And not getting a chance to see other kids in a similar situation was really hard on them.”

One in 110 children is born with a heart defect; in fact, it’s the number one birth defect in the United States. So, the return of Camp Bon Coeur in Abbeville this summer is welcome news indeed. “We do typical stuff at camp,” smiles Craig. “We do horses and archery and canoeing; and we have a heart class so kids get to learn about their heart defect.”

Camp bon Coeur given kids with heart defects a place to be kids. Throughout the property, there are medical personnel ready…just in case. And that’s welcome news to parents. “I loved the nurses that I got to meet,” offers Tracy LeMaire, a Bon Coeur parent. “The whole team is dynamic. I hope people can be a little more trusting when they drop their kids off, not be so nervous because it’s an amazing experience.”

It’s about growth and self-realization. It’s about learning what you’re capable of doing, says Craig. “That’s what camp is all about; they can blossom, and yeah, they have a heart defect, but they are so much more than that.”

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