Going Purple for A Week with an Operation Purple Camp Nurse
Picture it: Two college roommates from the University of Delaware—one studying to be a veterinarian, the other a nurse. Neither could have imagined where they’d be decades later.
Sue grew up to become the camp director for Jamestown 4-H, home to one of our Operation Purple camps. Her old roommate, Pam, comes to camp for just one week every summer – Operation Purple week.
“This is a special camp,” Sue said. “I just want to make sure the kids are taken care of and she’s the one.”
Pam is an Air Force veteran who has been taking a week off from her day job every year since 2007 to be a part of Operation Purple Camp. Working throughout the year as an urgent care nurse means she is ready for anything—kids with diabetes, asthma, life-threatening allergies. You name it, Pam is ready. She goes the extra mile for these military kids because she understands their sacrifices and wants this week to be incredible for each one.
“They need this, so I am going to make it work,” Pam said. “I’ll get up in the middle of the night, make sure they have their medicine, any special food they need, quietly clean their sheets if an overnight accident happens.”
Sue couldn’t imagine Operation Purple Camp without Pam. “We lived together for years in college, finish each other’s sentences, fight like dogs,” she laughs. “But I don’t have to worry about a thing.”
At Operation Purple Camp drop off, Pam talked to each camper’s parents about their individual needs. She calmed the parents of a diabetic child by demonstrating her expertise in glycemic management, told another parent who had forgotten to bring cash for the camp store that she’d buy their son the food he needed to take with his medicine before bedtime. She organized medications by time-of-day and kept detailed notes that she didn’t even seem to need. It was clear she had studied the forms ahead of time.
Every parent left knowing their child was in good hands. Every child got to jump straight into the fun of camp.
When asked ‘what was the toughest medical situation’ she’s had to deal with at a camp, Pam said “Those are not the things I usually remember. What I remember is hearing them. I just love the sound of them. Playing and screeching. I’m always listening for that other kind of screech, as a nurse,” she jokes. “But I really just sit and listen to the sound of them having a great time.”
Did you know Operation Purple Camps are equipped to deal with kids with a variety of medical conditions? Reach out to our Operation Purple Program staff to learn more.