Student-Run Sports Camp for DC General Children Flourishes in its Third Year

Posted in GUMC Stories

AUGUST 8, 2015—For the third year running, Georgetown University School of Medicine students and children living at DC General Family Shelter gathered at a field near RFK Stadium for HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp.

The camp, which is the brainchild of Paul Elsbernd, M’16, took place July 27-July 31. During that week, campers had the opportunity to play myriad sports and games, have one-on-one time with School of Medicine counselors and hear from extraordinary guest speakers.  

Cura Personalis at camp

The HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp is just another way that students give back to the DC General community. HOYA Clinic, the student-driven free clinic located in the shelter, has no shortage of volunteers each year. The Big HOYA Little Saxa mentorship program, started by students last year, encourages reading and fosters healthy eating and exercise through monthly activity days with children at DC General. 

Building relationships with the children of DC General outside the HOYA Clinic makes the student volunteers more effective inside. “It’s important for the med students to get to know the children at DC General — because we interact with some of the children and their parents at the HOYA Clinic — but we thought it was important for us to get to know them outside of that setting in more of a fun atmosphere,” said Daniel Gawron, M’18, director of the camp.

“I think that the camp exemplifies Cura Personalis,” said Eileen Moore, MD , the faculty advisor of the camp. “The students address the campers’ health and wellbeing in a holistic way, and that includes physical activity, but also in sending the message that they can overcome adversity.”

Introduction to Georgetown

For some School of Medicine students, HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp is their introduction to Georgetown. Of the 35 counselors, 23 are beginning their first year of medical school in the fall. 

For Monika Gasiorek, M’19, the experience has been rewarding.

“I think programs like this are very important just in terms of giving back to the community. We’re here to grow as individuals and I think the best way to do that is by helping others,” said Gasiorek.

The camp has also allowed her to know the Georgetown community in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. In the same way they relate to the children outside of the exam room, students relate beyond the traditional educational setting.

“It’s been great to get to know my fellow classmates in an environment like this,” said Gasiorek. “It’s very collaborative and creative and we get to know each other outside the classroom.” 

Community Support 

Community support is essential to the success of the camp. This year, several community members donated their time as guest speakers. The campers had the opportunity to kick the ball around with retired professional soccer player Lori Lindsey, and play games with Dean David L. Taylor, Med, and student volunteers from the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies (GEMS) Program. On the last day of camp, members of the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team visited to talk about basketball, play sharks and minnows, and hand out some Hoya merchandise.

The camp also relies on financial support from the community. 

“The HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp runs completely off donations,” said Gawron. “All of our supplies, equipment, prizes, etc., were generously donated to us. Dahlgren Memorial Library and the Office of Student Affairs have been our biggest supporters and have really helped get the camp off the ground.”

Other donors include Yates Field House, which donates the sports equipment; HOYA Clinic, which provided medical supplies and transportation; and Corp Philanthropy Committee, which awarded the camp a $500 scholarship. 

Leigh Ann Renzulli
GUMC Communications