The Painted Turtle organization is a medical specialty camp for children who have serious medical conditions. The Painted Turtle Outpost is an in-hospital program that has been bringing the fun of their campsite to MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach for several years now. With the use of camp props, games, and activities, hospital playrooms are transformed to resemble The Painted Turtle campsite.
The Painted Turtle partners with 22 hospital sites and clinics in California to give patients the opportunity to learn new strategies of medical self-care, increase their confidence, and build friendships with peers who have similar medical conditions through the Outpost. Miller Children’s & Women’s was one of the first sites that participated in the Outpost when the program launched in 2007.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Painted Turtle Outpost brought engaging camp-themed activities into the playroom for all patients. The team set up arts and crafts, woodshop projects, foam archery, and a magnetic fishing pond to make it feel like camp as much as possible. If a patient is unable to leave their room, the team would visit their bedside and engage with them through an activity kit that was specially curated for the patient.
The Painted Turtle Outpost provides a change in schedule for children who are hospitalized, providing something new and exciting for them.
“We tried to engage a child for over a week – and having camp, and a different presence in the hospital was just what he needed to play,” said Rita Goshert, Director, Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program. “Because of the fun camp activities being brought to the hospital, its helped patients break out of their shell and encourage them to still be kids. We’re so thankful for the Painted Turtle bringing their campsites to Miller Children’s & Women’s.”
They also participate in many Miller Children’s & Women’s events, like Beach Day and Santa’s Workshop, running a booth with fun activities and opportunities for kids to win prizes.
Since the pandemic, they have been joining Miller Children’s & Women’s through Zoom on the Millie Show once a month, offering the same fun camp activities in a virtual format. The Painted Turtle staff leads games, crafts, and story times for patients watching the show.
Additionally, each month they have been generously donating individual activity bedside bags for patients of different ages. They have sent Miller Women’s & Children’s more than 6,000 activity bags over the past two and a half years.
Miller Children’s & Women’s appreciates the care that the Painted Turtle provides to each patient. Providing the fun of camp at their bedside whether in person or virtually.