This summer, Vicki Hamer, RN and Jill Arbeiter, RN, volunteered their time at Deerfoot Lodge’s new location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Deerfoot is a Christian boy’s wilderness camp where boys age 9-16 years can unplug for 2 weeks, relax, and enjoy the expansive nature around them. Vicki has been a volunteer at the camp for many years and her 2 sons attended the camp when they were young. This year, Jill joined Vicki for one week and highly enjoyed her time at the camp.
During the summer months, June through August, Vicki is the camp nurse. Pre-camp, the counselors are educated on everything from what to do if a camper has an anaphylactic reaction and how to use an Epipen, to basic first aid. They also learn the use of emergency beacons on the trail and how to survive on the trail. This year is the first year for the new Blue Ridge Mountain camp. Vicki helped set up and establish the health center and set-up a floor plan that would accommodate the nurse and campers efficiently. All needed medical supplies were organized and purchased for the new center from band aides to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). “I loved figuring out everything we would need for any situation – emergent and non-emergent,” exclaimed Vicki.
Vicki loves every aspect of her time at Deerfoot. From training the counselors to caring for the campers. The counselors are eager to learn and understand that they may end up in an emergency situation so they take their training seriously. Wilderness camping has many risks involved. This summer when a kitchen worker experienced a cardiac arrest, a trained counselor was able to step in and administer CPR while Vicki used the AED. A week later, the chef returned to camp! Her love for pediatric nursing makes her a great fit at the camp. A lot of the camp nurse’s role includes listening to and comforting the campers when they are homesick and encouraging them when they need a little push.
“I am very passionate about the mission of Deefoot,” Vicki says. “The camper’s time spent as Deerfoot is life changing for them”, declares Vicki. The campers become strong, confident, young men and they have Deerfoot to attribute to that. They live in cabins, lean-tos, and treehouses. They carry heavy backpacks and hike the mountains. Most of all, they are supported by an encouraging staff that leads them in becoming godly young men. The boys that attend this camp come from all situations and live with real struggles in their daily lives. When they come to Deerfoot they can put their worries aside and excel in the natural environment.