Childhood cancer summer camps.

We created a top 10 list of summer camps for kids with cancer and survivors. These camps are very special for the children and their siblings too, When a child is diagnosed, the patient, family, and community struggle to make sense of the experience. Most of these children miss school and are separated from their siblings. Summer camps provide to have fun, to open up, and to bring confidence to the parents that the children are in good hands the staff and facilities are specially built to deal with the children’s special needs and many times the counselors are cancer survivors.

 

1)  Sunrise Day Camp

  • Website: http://sunrisedaycamp.org/
  • Location: New York: Long Island; Pearl River; Staten Island.
    • Israel – Beit Yehoshuah; Be’er Sheva, Ramat Yochana
    • Horizon day camp- Baltimore, MD;
    • Aurora Day Camp – Atlanta, GA.
  • Contact: Michele Vernon, MSW, Phone: 516-766-4341 ext. 106, Fax: 516-766-0513., mvernon@friedbergjcc.org
  • Activities: Sunrise Day Camp is for children with cancer ages 3 1/2-16. This day camp is designed to meet the emotional, social, recreational and physical needs of these children while allowing them to enjoy the comforts and safety of their own homes at night. They run 3 2-week sessions in summer. The activities can be many that the camp offers including arts and crafts, drama, yoga, swimming, sports of all sorts, mini golf, playground, low ropes course, climbing wall, and music.

Reviews: “The best thing about camp this summer was the abundance of joy and anticipation that all of my children experienced every camp day!” – Camper Parent, “It’s like a get-away. It’s neat to hang out with friends and counselors.” – Camper.

2)  MD Anderson Cancer Center Camps

  1. Camp Star Trails
    • Website: camps@mdanderson.org.
    • Location: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • Contact: 1-844-584-327., camps@mdanderson.org.
    • Activities: For patients and siblings ages six to 12, they offer Camp Star Trails. During this week-long camp, kids can participate in archery, arts, and crafts, canoeing, kayaking, cooking, creative arts, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, team sports, and swimming. They can also visit a small animal farm and tackle an obstacle course. Physicians and oncology nurses present at all times and are free of cost.
  2. Camp A.O.K.
    • Activities: Overnight, a week-long camp for patients and siblings, ages 13 to 18. Activities include horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, tennis, swimming, archery, team sports, arts and crafts, cooking, dancing and more. The week closes with Prom Night, wear dresses, tuxes and hair styling services are all provided before a formal dinner and dance. Physicians and oncology nurses will be present at all times and are free.

Reviews: I made lifelong friends going to camp and being with others in similar situations.- Oguna Taylor, Camper & Volunteer.

3) Camp Goodtimes

  • Website: http://www.campgoodtimes.org/
  • Location: British Columbia, Canada. UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge at the Loon Lake Research and Education Centre., British Columbia, Canada
  • Contact: 565 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 4J4.
  • Kids CampCamp Goodtimes gives children (ages 7-15) unforgettable opportunities to take part in outdoor recreation and inclusive fun and games tailored to all levels of ability. Please note children who are 7 years of age by December 31, 2018, are eligible to apply. Themes, costumes, arts & crafts, and other summer camp activities are offered in addition to special events such as a carnival and dance.
  • Teen ProgramCamp Goodtimes’ Teen Program is a specialized program just for teens and includes a higher level of programming than what is offered at Kids Camp. A wide variety of activities, increased challenge, opportunity to choose programming and a “laid-back” atmosphere are elements of Teen Program that set it apart from Kids Camp.
  • Activities: Camp is developed around an annual theme and geared to the age and interests of the campers.  Recreational activities and entertainment are available in an accredited outdoor environment with 24-hour medical supervision, social-emotional support, and special volunteers. Camp Goodtimes offers a variety of activities to help all participants be active and enjoy the outdoors, such as: Waterfront activities including swimming, canoeing and kayaking, Arts & Crafts, Campfires, Dance, Carnival, Waterfight with the Maple Ridge Fire Department,Full-camp and cabin-group activities based on the theme (example: theme meals, scavenger hunts, etc), Adventure programming based on age including rock-climbing, low- and high-ropes courses and archery

Reviews:“It makes you feel like you’re not going through it alone,” – A camper

4) Name: Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

  • Website: www.holeinthewallgang.org
  • Location: Connecticut, Camp- 565 Ashford Center Rd, Ashford, CT 06278
    • Administrative office – 555 Long Wharf Dr, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Contact: JAMES H. CANTON, Chief Executive Officer.
  • Activities: The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s signature summer program offers week-long residential Camp sessions for children aged 7 – 15 and their siblings. Campers participate in traditional camp activities while receiving care from a significant, yet unobtrusive, medical presence. Some activities include arts & crafts, woodshop, swimming, boating & fishing, theatre performances or archery amongst many more.

Reviews: “Each year my son comes home with story after story of the incredible experiences & fun he had at camp! We are amazed that your camp is able to top itself year-after-year!” — Camper mom Karin, ” What is so special about all of you who nurture, encourage, support and comfort these children is that you “get it.” You understand that they are not like most kids their age. The beauty of camp is that for six glorious days they are like all the other kids around them.”— Camper parent Leslie. 

5) Camp Sunshine

  • Website: www.mycampsunshine.com
  • Location: Georgia;
    • 1850 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033
  • Contact: info@mycampsunshine.com
  • Activities: Two one-week sessions are held; a session for children ages 7 – 12, and a session for teens 13 – 18. Each week is packed full of fun, excitement, inspiration and age-appropriate activities like Swimming, archery, horseback riding, tennis, pottery, ropes course, zip line, climbing a wall, arts & crafts, fishing, biking, canoeing, boating and more.

Reviews:“At camp, my favorite activities were horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, tennis, meeting the Georgia football team, the carnival, talent show and cabin time. Every minute was fun. I performed a monologue at the talent show. Everyone laughed.” – Camper Ethan

6) Seany’s Camp Reach for the Sky

  • Activities: Day Camp is a weeklong daytime getaway for children ages 4 to 8 who have, or have had, cancer and their siblings of the same age group. The kids will spend the day doing all sorts of fun activities with friends both old and new. The counselors and volunteers are also dedicated to helping your child have a great time in a supportive environment.  Surrounded by other kids just like them, they swim, go on hikes, sing songs and create memories that help get them through the tough times. They heal physically and emotionally and hope flourishes.

7) Camp Fantastic

  • Website: http://www.specialove.org/
  • Location: Virginia
    • 117 Youth Development Ct.
    • Winchester, VA 22602
  • Contact:
    • PHONE: 888-930-2707
    • HEADQUARTERS
    • 117 Youth Development Court
    • Winchester, VA 22602
    • Fax: 540-667-8144
    • MARYLAND OFFICE
    • 31 Center Drive, Box 2062
    • Bethesda, MD 20892-2062
  • Activities: It’s a fun-filled week of swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, marshmallow roasting, campfire singing, pillow fighting – everything a child without cancer enjoys at a traditional camp. For a child with cancer, the experience is, well, liberating.

Reviews“I came to camp without my wig, knowing it would be a place where I could show my true colors and people would understand. The first year, I had just finished my chemo treatment, so it wasn’t the year with the most fun, but it definitely was the most important. It built up my self-confidence and filled my heart with love.” – Angela, A Camper., “I work with children who have cancer every day, I’m always saying, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ That’s why I love helping at Camp Fantastic because it’s the one week I get to say ‘Yes’ to these kids. Yes, have some ice cream. Yes, play soccer. Yes, stay up a little late for the dance.” -the pediatric oncology nurse at camp.

8) Camp Quality, USA

  • Website: http://www.campqualityusa.org/
  • Location: Arkansas, Heartland, Illinois, Kansas, Kentuckiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Central Missouri, Kansas City, Northwest Missouri, Missouri Ozarks, Ohio, New Jersey, Texas
  • Contact:  Camp Quality USA National Headquarters
    • 2311 East Cragmont, Springfield, MO 65804
    • 417-877-0177
    • infoATcampqualityusa.com
    • Camp Quality USA
  • Activities: Week-long summer camp for children with cancer ages 3-18. Every camper is paired with a companion who is dedicated completely to his or her care. Their primary responsibility is to make sure their camper has the most enjoyable, safe, relaxing and restoring experience possible.  The fun activities at camp are carefully selected to ensure that the activity builds life skills, encourages group interaction amongst campers and companions, and/or offers a high impact lasting memory.

Reviews: Thanks once again for another fabulous week at camp! Some of the new events were a big hit for my kids. Jason loved going to the miniature golf place, and Michelle loved the petting zoo. I wish I could put into words, how much this week means to all four of us. To know that so many people have such hearts of gold . . .We truly enjoyed our time off. Thanks a million!!!” -Camper Parents

9) Camp Barnabas

  • Website: https://www.campbarnabas.org/
  • Location: CAMP BARNABAS AT TEAS TRAIL, Missouri, United States. 
    • 901 Teas Trail
    • Purdy, MO 65734
    • (417) 476-2565
    • CAMP BARNABAS AT TABLE ROCK LAKE
    • 1380 Eternity Lane
    • Shell Knob, MO 65747
    •  (417) 858-1127
  • Contact: CAMP BARNABAS – MAILING
    • PO Box 3200
    • Springfield, MO 65808
    • (417) 476-2565
  • Activities: Each week is geared to a specific age range (starting at age 7 and you can not age out). They have a one-on-one with a volunteer so they can get the full support they need. They also have a full medical facility with nurses and doctors to be able to accommodate any medical needs our campers may require.No camper is turned away due to financial need, therefore, scholarships are available upon request. Some activities include- Paintball ,High Ropes Course, Low Ropes Course, Fishing, Canoes, Archery, Lakefront Inflatables, Pool, Waterslide, Slip and Slide, Sand Volleyball, Mini Golf, Whiffle Ball Field, Giant Barn Swing, Mini Barn Swing, Boating and Tubing, Floor Hockey, Sports Fields, Basketball Courts

Reviews: “The first time we sent Jacob and Madeline to Camp Barnabas we were very concerned about all the ways we thought of how the week might be a failure. Would Jacob shut down? Would he be adequately cared for and safe?  In His abundance the week was a grand-slam of growth and joy for both our kids. So we would encourage parents to not be fearful as we were, but to trust that God will bless you and your child through Camp Barnabas.” – Liesl Smith (camper parent)

10) Camp Simcha

  • Activities: Camp Simcha offers two, two-week sessions for children with cancer. Our goal is to give children an exciting and enjoyable camp experience that will enhance resiliency and help them through the inevitable rough patches of fighting illness. The medical staff is comprised of pediatric oncologists from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the camp infirmary can accommodate children on treatment. Each child has his/her counselor so that schedules can be tailored to a child’s interest and energy level, and the activities mirror those at camps for healthy children
  • Sports- Archery, Bank Shot Basketball (for all levels, ages, and abilities), Baseball, Basketball on our outdoor court and in our climate-controlled indoor gym, Hockey, Jet Skiing, Mini-Golf , Ropes Course &  Tennis, Boating and Lake Fun – Fishing & Swimming in our olympic-size pool, complete with ramp and water-submersible wheelchairs, Fun & Games – Color War, Paintball & Simcha Speedway, Entertainment – Carnivals, Campfires and Camping, Concerts, Interactive Shows, Magic Show, Musical Productions, Recording Studio, Talent Show & Video Arcade, Arts & Crafts – Arts and Crafts, Camp Newspaper, Candle making, Ceramics, Leather Workshop, Photography (learn developing techniques in our darkroom), Rocketry  & Woodworking, Barbecues, Cooking, Glass Fusion, Helicopter Rides, Motorcycle Rides, Petting Zoo & Trips.

 

 

To get more information about summer camps click here.