In Play, At Play

  • Catherine Mohrea Laing University of Calgary
Keywords: hermeneutics, play, pediatric oncology, cancer camps



It is surprising for many people to learn how restricted children with cancer are, both in their daily activities as well as in the bigger, more significant events in their lives.  The treatment for cancer often leaves children with significant immune suppression; exposure to any kind of virus or infection could lead to a life-threatening event.  Summer camp – a “rite of passage†for many kids – would be a forgone experience were it not for specialized children’s cancer camps.

This paper is intended to interpretively examine the concept of play in relation to children’s cancer camps. Much has been written about play both philosophically and scientifically, and while it might seem an obvious association, play and camp, I would suggest that like the word itself there is more complexity in this relationship than what first appears obvious.  Children play at camp, of course, but there is much “at play†in them when they attend camp.  As Gadamer (1960/1989) wrote, “something is going on…something is happening†(p. 104).

Author Biography

Catherine Mohrea Laing, University of Calgary

PhD Student

University of Calgary

Faculty of Nursing


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