Kids become Rockin' Docs at summer camp

(Edmonton) A free summer camp run by medical and dental students that teaches kids about germs, the body—and how far a sneeze travels—is wrapping up this week.

The Rockin’ Docs annual camp, now in its fourth year, takes place during two one-week sessions. There is no charge so children from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds can attend. The two camp co-ordinators, chosen at the beginning of the calendar year, spend months fundraising to offset the costs. They email elementary schools in May and June to spread the news about the camp.

“We make this camp completely open to anyone who wants to come, to give these kids some really cool opportunities,” said medical student Doug Cheung, who ran this year’s camp with fellow co-ordinator Brent Turner, who is also a medical student. “The kids are a blast to work with—they are sharp and engaged. Everything’s been great.”

This week the students learned about topics including infections, how germs spread, and what muscles and bones do in the body. They also had a surgical-gown-and-glove relay, and had the opportunity to use stethoscopes and blood-pressure equipment. Each day included a one-hour lecture from a physician, then a game or craft to reinforce what they had just learned.

Lauren LeBlanc, 9, said camp week was a lot of fun.

“I learned what’s inside of bones and how it makes blood cells … I’d like to be a dentist,” she said. “It’s kind of cool that you get to tell people how to clean their teeth and you get to use really cool tools.”

Bianca LeBlanc, 12, Lauren’s sister, said she decided to come to Rockin’ Docs because her friend went to the camp last year and raved about it. She said she would like to be a doctor or dentist when she gets older.

“Doctors get to help people who are sick and you can save a lot of people’s lives. If I became a dentist, I’d get to clean people’s teeth, which would be fun.”

Another camper, Leo Suen, 12, said he learned lots of important things at Rockin’ Docs.

“The camp is very interesting—you get to learn about the human body. We also learned how bones help us survive—without bones you’d be all mush—and how to be healthy, like don’t smoke.

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in kindergarten,” he said. “I always feel sad when people die because of cancer (and other diseases). I want to help people who are sick.”

More about Rockin' Docs: Watch video from last year's camp