American Lung Association of California

Superior Branch

HAPPY CAMPERS: Campers and counselors take a break during last year’s Camp SuperStuff to learn about asthma triggers.

HAPPY CAMPERS: Campers and counselors take a break during last year’s Camp SuperStuff to learn about asthma triggers.

Chico, CA 95926, 530) 345-6035, (800) LUNG-USA,

American Lung Association of California, Superior Branch
1108 Sheridan Ave., Ste. B

Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children in California, and 2.3 million Californians suffer from the debilitating disease. The American Lung Association of California offers comprehensive programs of support and education aimed at children as well as adults with asthma.

Doctors are not exactly certain how people get asthma. But they do know that, once a person has it, his or her lungs react to stimuli, such as cigarette smoke, dust or feathers, that can trigger an asthma attack and make it difficult to breathe.

The American Lung Association has many programs that are aimed at helping people with asthma lead full, normal lives. One of the best ways to educate children how to manage their asthma is also one of the most entertaining. The American Lung Association of California, Superior Branch, sponsors Camp SuperStuff, a summer camp for asthmatic children between the ages of 6 and 12. This year’s camp will be held Aug. 3-5 at Lassen Pines Retreat Center in Viola, near the northern entrance to Lassen Park.

At Camp SuperStuff, asthmatic children have the opportunity to experience the same exiting activities found in a typical summer camp, such as hiking, swimming and arts and crafts. Learning is part of the fun, too. Campers participate in an educational component that has been designed to help children understand their asthma, recognize the triggers and learn how to prevent and control asthma episodes.

Amber Scott was recently hired to direct this year’s camp, thanks to a grant from the North Valley Community Foundation. Scott, an asthmatic, attended the camp herself as a child.

“Growing up with asthma, so many kids feel that they are so different from other kids, that they don’t belong,” Scott explained. “What’s important about the summer camp is that it gets them together with other campers who are like themselves, and they can participate in normal camp activities … at their own pace. I think it gives them a boost in their self-esteem. Hopefully they come away with the sense they can live with asthma successfully.”

While it’s hoped the kids won’t need medical attention, a volunteer team of medical professionals, including physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists, is available around the clock. The ratio of campers to adult volunteers is about 2 to 1.

The cost for Camp SuperStuff is $110 per child and includes all camp activities, transportation, T-shirt, meals and lodging in rustic cabins. Full and partial scholarships are available to qualified applicants to ensure that no child is turned away for financial reasons.

Such scholarships are made possible by the local branch’s fundraisers, including the Aloha Open Golf Tournament, now in its 13th year. The event is scheduled for Sunday, June 3, at 1 p.m. at the Bidwell Park Golf Course. The lucky golfer whose tee shot is closest to the pin on the seventh hole will walk away with a trip to Hawaii. The event concludes with a dinner at The Albatross. The cost is only $85 per player or $95 after May 15.

Providing asthma education is only one of the programs of the American Lung Association. It also offers “Freedom from Smoking” smoking cessation classes and tobacco prevention programs for children. It sponsors the Better Breathers Club for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The association also provides educational health guides for elementary-school children and is an advocate for air quality.

The American Lung Association of California, Superior Branch serves Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties. It is currently looking for volunteer community coordinators to help promote the mission of the organization in each of the 11 counties it serves. Volunteer opportunities are also available in the areas of special events, office assistance, camp counselor, advocacy network and advisory board.