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Summer Camps

What are camps for families with cancer?

There are dozens of camps in the U.S. and around the world that can help patients and families enjoy new experiences together while a loved one is being treated for cancer. Whether it is getting together for a weekend or a week-long retreat, camps are a great way for children being treated for cancer to forget about hospital visits for a bit, get outdoors and have fun with others who understand what they’re going through.

How much do camps cost?

Usually campers and their families pay very little, if anything, for these camps.

Is my child well enough for camp?

It’s completely normal for children being treated for cancer to need medical care while at camp. Many have doctors and nurses on staff. Even still, it is recommended that family members considering a camp talk with their child’s oncologist first.

Many camps and retreat centers for children with cancer have doctors and nurses on staff. In this photo, a young cancer patient enjoys a sunny day outside.

Many camps and retreat centers for children with cancer have doctors and nurses on staff.

Who staffs these camps?

Many cancer treatment organizations have established camps for their patients. This ensures these camps have the staff and facilities to address the children's special needs. Many have been founded by people touched by cancer in some way – and sometimes the counselors are cancer survivors themselves.

When are these camps open?

Many camps operate throughout the year. While virtually all are open in the warmer months, many have programs available in other seasons as well.

Bright yellow photo of an ant crawling on a leaf.

Camps are a great way for children being treated for cancer to forget about hospital visits for a bit, get outdoors and have fun.

Is there a camp near my child’s treatment center?

Ped-Onc Resource Center has a list of camp programs for children with cancer and their families in every state with program descriptions and contact information. Cancer.net includes a recommended list of camps, online links to each program and a short description. KidsCamps.com also provides a list of camps with links. And the Children's Oncology Camping Association International (COCA-I) includes information on nearly 100 oncology camps. To learn more about camps for children and families living with cancer, talk with an oncology nurse or social worker to find what is available in your area.


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Reviewed: June 2018