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It is something special: How children and their parents experience a camp for young people who care for a parent with a severe physical illness

Recreational camps for children play an important role in coping with the illness of a family member. This paper aims to describe the experience of a young-carer summer camp in Austria from the perspective of the attending children who care for a parent with severe physical illness as well as their diagnosed and non-diagnosed parents who remained at home. Nineteen qualitative interviews with children and their parents were conducted and analyzed according to qualitative summarizing content analysis procedure. The findings show a familial decision-making process and the ambivalent expectations and feelings of the children prior to the camp. The camp itself is a place where children feel looked after and where they can enjoy adventure activities. It is also a place where they are among themselves and can make friends and talk about their feelings in a secure and private environment. During the camp, the remaining parents try to spend most of their time focusing on themselves and their partnership. The camp also gives the children a glimpse of another way of living with new freedoms that cannot be maintained when they come home. These findings indicate that camps can make an important contribution to addressing young carers’ needs but should also initiate a debate on more sustainable relief measures for children with care responsibilities. 

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Elsevier
ISBN/ISSN
0190-7409
Publication Year
2019
Issue Number
December
Journal Titles
Children and Youth Services Review
Volume Number
107
Start Page
104560