Splashin' Around Juvenile Arthritis Style.

Somehow over the past couple of weeks I have gotten super behind updating my blog. Which is understandable considering all the stuff I've been doing and the fact that work has been super busy so blog breaks just haven't happened! Anyhow, I'm going to try to get in all the fun stuff that's happened lately, but one thing at a time!

A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend Sarah W. and I volunteered at the Juvenile Arthritis Weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. Sarah's a former 4th grade teacher, so she got her own group of 6 10-year-olds, and I had a group of 5 7-year-olds. We each had a sorority girl from VCU to help us wrangle the children. I mean, entertain the children. :) The morning was spent doing activities to help the kids (and us) get to know each other and then a little time in the arcade, then in the afternoon we all went to the water park.

Some of you may not be familiar with Great Wolf Lodge. It is a massive hotel/resort with its very own water park inside. And it ain't no little water park. It's huge... I think there are four pools counting the Lazy River, and a giant clubhouse thing in the middle with some slides coming off of it and a giant bucket of water that fills and empties on the children every so often (their website tells me it holds nearly 1,000 gallons of water!), and then many bigger slides throughout. It's a lot of fun for children, and the last time I went (last year, I hung out there with Jodie and her two kids and Bryan) I had fun, too. This time, I was a bit more worried about making sure none of the five children in my charge drowned. :) We did have a great time, though!

Hanging out with the juvenile arthritis crowd is always a great experience for me. It turned out that only one little girl in my group had arthritis--the rest were siblings of children with arthritis--but my arthritis buddy, Megan, and I both share the same rheumatologist, too! I remember when I first started meeting people who also had the disease and were my age (or older for that matter). Even though you know the numbers (300,000 kids with juvenile arthritis in the US) and even though you know there are other kids dealing with the same issues you are, it is super reassuring & envigorating to actually come face to face with more and more people just like you. It truly is a family at Arthritis Foundation events, and I am so glad I found them almost eight years ago!

PS-Megan is the girl in the blue in the picture above! And while I actually have a waterproof digital camera, I was too busy whipping my head around locating 7-year-old girls to get any pictures of us in the waterpark!

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