Summer Camps for Kids Impacted by a Cancer Diagnosis

Traditionally “summer camp” is viewed as a carefree, fun and sometimes educational program for kids to take part in during their summer breaks. Lasting a few days to a few weeks, these programs can teach life skills, sportsmanship, and team work, build self-confidence and help form life-long friendships.

Many of us utilize summer camps to keep our children physically active and to keep them from being bored out of their minds during the summer.
But did you know about the specialty camps available today to help kids who have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis in their family?
One in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes and cancer affects an entire family.

Some of these camps are available at low or no cost and offer an environment of understanding and support for a child and family members who are experiencing tragic or difficult circumstances. A camp like this can offer a child a break from the reality of their current situation, a break from cancer or maybe for the first time be the one place where there are others that truly understand.

If you have or know of a child impacted by a loved one’s cancer diagnosis, it’s worth it to check into the availability of camps in your area.

I've posted some listings of camps below. If you know of others, please feel free to post the links in the comments section.

Angel Foundation's Kid's Kamp, Minnesota
Facing Cancer Together, a program of Angel Foundation, offers a free camp for children ages five to 18 who have a parent with cancer. Facing Cancer Together offers education and support programs for the whole family throughout the year.

Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks, Arizona
Established by the ACS, Arizona Camp Sunrise offers special programs for children who have or have had cancer and Sidekicks, programs for the siblings of children with cancer. Arizona Camp Sunrise offers weeklong, residential summer camps, day camps, weekend retreats, teen trips, and other year-round special events.

Camp Kesem, throughout the United States
Organized by college students, Camp Kesem is a weeklong, sleep-away summer camp for children ages six to 13 with a parent who has or has had cancer. The camps are held on college campuses throughout the United States. Each of the camps is organized and operated by a group of student leaders.

Camp Mak-A-Dream, Montana
Camp Mak-A-Dream is operated by Children's Oncology Camp Foundation. It is a medically supervised, cost-free camp for children (ages six to 13), teens (ages 14 to 18), and young adults (ages 19 to 25) with cancer. Camp Mak-A-Dream also offers a camp for siblings ages six to 17 who have a brother or sister with cancer and hosts retreats for adults with cancer each fall.

Cancer Services of New Mexico's Family Cancer Retreats, New Mexico
Family Cancer Retreat is a free, three-day educational retreat for adults with cancer and their families. The event includes a combination of educational workshops and family activities. The retreat is held twice a year in Glorieta, New Mexico.

Harmony Hill, Washington
Harmony Hill, located on the south shore of the Olympic Peninsula's Hood Canal, offers weekend, residential cancer retreats for people with cancer and their loved ones.

The Hole in the Wall Gang, Connecticut
The Hole in the Wall Gang is a camp founded by Paul Newman in 1988 that offers summer programs, fall reunions, parent support programs, and other outreach programs. The Hole in the Wall Gang is one camp within the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps.

Special Love, Inc., Virginia
Special Love provides camps, support networks, and other unique experiences for children with cancer, their siblings, and families.


Originally posted on the EmpowHER Network

Blog category: 
-> Survivorship
-> Caregiving


Thanks for sharing these listings of camps. Some of these summer camps are available at low or no cost and offer an environment of understanding for a child and family members who are experiencing tragic or difficult circumstances. You can also check Camp Lee Mar!

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