TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Jamey Boyum - email
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Kids from all over Texas are at Camp Tyler this week and they all have one thing in common: Asthma.
The week-long camp offers an opportunity for campers to have fun while learning more about their disease and medications.
The campers know asthma is serious. If unchecked, it can damage lungs and other internal organs. During an asthma attack, it is sort of like trying to breathe through a cocktail straw. The kids at camp don't have to explain this to each other.
"It's good to come to camp where everyone has asthma because they understand it more and you can talk about it more than you could talk to people at regular camp," said Kalifornia Harriss, a camper.
Making friends happened pretty quickly with the mutual understanding. After some fishing or even hoping you don't tip the canoe, the kids take a breather and gather together to play games like Pictionary. But, one activity wraps learning and fun into one.
"I learned that when you take your asthma inhaler, that you don't want to go in too fast or your not getting all the medicine that you need," said Kalifornia.
"We learned what are our triggers - how they affect our body," said Deonta Rigsby, a camper. "Every year we learn something different."
"Anyone who wants to come to camp, it's amazing and you'll have a great time," said Kalifornia. "You'll learn a lot and make great friends. I know I have."
Whether it is their first visit or their fifth, everyone gets to experience something new.
The Texas Asthma Camp is the oldest in the state.
It originated in 1985 and parents have reported that after camp, they don't have to remind their kids to take their medicine nearly as much.