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Learning and having fun at AAD Camp Discovery

Medical student Dane Markham loved his first time volunteering at Camp Discovery.

Dane's story

Dane Markham
Dane Markham, medical student at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.
I am a medical student at Mayo Clinic and will be applying to dermatology this application cycle. I learned of the opportunity to volunteer at Camp Discovery on the AAD website. Getting involved with Camp Discovery couldn’t be easier as it was a simple application and onboarding process.

I volunteered at one of the boys’ units this past summer at Camp Discovery in Crosslake, Minnesota. I witnessed many new skin conditions and their impact on campers’ personal lives. It was incredible to see the alopecia campers remove their wigs as their self-confidence increased, as well as help the epidermolysis bullosa campers participate in all the camp activities.

Camp Discovery gave me the unique opportunity to not only understand the “why” behind the medicines but also the “how.” I learned proper techniques and tips for bleach baths, wet dressings, bandage exchanges, and negotiation tactics to improve daily medication — and shower — compliance. Under the guidance of the medical director, I performed medical assistance as well. I gained a deeper understanding of the patience and diligence required in the everyday lives of patients with chronic skin conditions. I also learned that less can be more, and that patient education and support are imperative.

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to become a dermatologist and for the AAD as it allows me to engage in meaningful activities like Camp Discovery. The AAD does a wonderful job running Camp Discovery as it is a one-of-a-kind experience for prospective dermatologists to interact with pediatric patients in a fun and safe environment. Camp Discovery not only enhances my training in my pursuit to become a dermatologist but also transforms my desired profession into a vocation, not just a choice of specialty, or even a career.

I would strongly encourage anyone who knows a child with a chronic skin condition to refer them to Camp Discovery and consider getting personally involved for a grounding experience. I eagerly anticipate returning to Camp Discovery and am deeply thankful to the AAD for making this opportunity possible, free of cost for both campers and volunteers.

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Camp Discovery provides children with chronic skin conditions the opportunity to make friends, find acceptance, and be themselves. Learn more about how you can get involved.

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