While many kids with Inflammatory Bowel Disease are able to attend summer camps without restriction, there are definitely times when a typical summer camp program can not accommodate a child with IBD-related medical needs. In addition, the bonding and learning experiences that occur among campers at IBD-focused summer camps is something unique. For instance, campers at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Camp Oasis often leave camp feeling more empowered about their disease, their ability to talk to others about it, and their ability to eventually manage their care independently as they become adults.
Here are some options for parents and kids to consider for their next summer camp experience:
Camp Oasis – The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
“Dealing with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as a child is even more challenging. That is why the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation proudly established Camp Oasis over a decade ago. This co-ed residential summer camp program enriches the lives of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis by providing them with a safe and supportive camp community.” -The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Camp Oasis has 12 locations around the United States, offering approximately week-long, overnight camps for children with IBD.
For more information about Camp Oasis, visit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s page here: Get Involved – Camp Oasis
To better understand the impact IBD-specific camps like Camp Oasis can have on kids, check out this post from Inflamed & Untamed: IBD Through the Eyes Of Our Youth: A Poem From One Of My Camp Oasis Campers.
You can find some additional info on my Camp Oasis page here: Camp Oasis
Camp Go Beyond (Formerly Camp Gut Busters) – IBD Summer Camp Foundation
“CAMP GO BeYOND was created in 2001 by Dr. Mel Heyman, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterolgy at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco as Camp Gut Busters. Our mission is to provide a free camp experience where children ages 7-17 diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, can have fun in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment.
Made possible by generous donations, camp has been FREE FOR ALL ATTENDEES since its inception.” -Camp Go Beyond
Camp Go Beyond is a one week camp located in the San Francisco Bay area. The camp is hosted by the The Taylor Family Foundation . It is supported by the IBD Summer Camp Foundation and the Taylor Family Foundation – both organizations work to raise funds from individual donations in order to provide a free camp experience for kids with IBD every year!
For more information, visit the Camp Go Beyond page here: https://www.campgobeyond.org/http://www.ibdcamp.org/index.html
Camp Got2Go – Crohn’s & Colitis Canada
“Camp Got2Go is an overnight camp for children and teens living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It provides kids a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact and connect with others facing similar challenges.
Living with these diseases can make kids feel isolated and alone and having a camp just for them can help build confidence, foster new relationships, encourage independence, and create opportunities for self-discovery.
We have two exciting camp locations in Western and Eastern Canada.” -Camp Got2Go
Camp Got2Go has 5 day camps in Eastern and Western Canada, and offers assistance for children traveling long distance to attend. In addition to the longer camps, they offer a weekend camp in Ontario. Applications for the two main 2017 camps are now closed, but there is still time to apply for the Ontario weekend camp (application deadline is October 1, 2017).
For more information, visit the Crohn’s & Colitis Canada page here: http://crohnsandcolitis.ca/Support-for-You/Summer-camp
For information on the Ontario weekend camp, click here: http://crohnsandcolitis.ca/Support-for-You/Summer-camp/Ontario-Weekend-Camp
Camp Guts & Glory – Brigadoon & Janssen Inc. Canada
“Camp Guts & Glory is the first camp in the Maritimes for youth living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Guts & Glory is the first full summer camp Brigadoon hosted after construction of the Village was complete in 2011.” -Camp Guts & Glory
Camp Guts & Glory takes place at the Brigadoon camp in Aylesford, Nova Scotia. It is open to IBD patients between 7-17 years of age.
The 2017 Guts & Glory camp will be held from August 13-18.
For more information, visit the Camp Guts & Glory page here: http://brigadoonvillage.org/camp-guts-gloryhttp://www.brigadoonvillage.org/camps/summer-camps/camp-guts-and-glory
Youth Rally – The Youth Rally Committee, Inc.
“YOUTH RALLY is a 5-night camp for youth ages 11-17 living with diseases and conditions of the bowel and/or bladder systems.”
“WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? HAVING FUN! The week is packed with medical and educational sessions as well as recreational outings and special events for all to enjoy. Counselors work hard to promote a safe environment in which participants gain confidence, self esteem, and independence, knowing they are never alone.” -Youth Rally
Youth Rally is a 5-night camp for teens/adolescents with bladder and bowel conditions. It hosts about 150 kids each year at a fully accessible college campus. As with all of the camps here, it is staffed by medical professionals with relevant specialized training, such as ostomy care nurses. The camp features recreational as well as educational activities, to help develop each camper’s confidence and independence.
For more information about Youth Rally, visit the official website here: http://www.youthrally.org/
The Painted Turtle – SeriousFun Children’s Network
“Welcome to The Painted Turtle where children with serious medical conditions celebrate just being kids! Through innovative, camp-based programs that offer a great big dose of fun and support, children with more than 30 medical conditions visit The Painted Turtle each year, reclaiming the joys of childhood. A member of Paul Newman’s renowned SeriousFun Camps (formerly the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps), The Painted Turtle has offered thousands of children and their families hope and encouragement through its Summer and Family Weekend camps since it opened its gates in 2004.” -The Painted Turtle
The Painted Turtle is not strictly an IBD summer camp. It’s a camp program for children with many different medical conditions, including IBD. They offer various programs year-round in California.
The two summer sessions specifically for IBD patients are:
- Arthritis and IBD: June 16-21
- Liver Disease and Transplant, PIDD, TPN, and IBD: July 31-August 4
Their full schedule is available here: http://thepaintedturtle.org/camp-calendar/
The Painted Turtle also offers weekend camp events for the families of patients:
“Throughout the spring, winter, and fall, The Painted Turtle invites families who are living with the challenges of a medical condition to experience a weekend at camp.”
The 2017 Family Weekends most relevant to IBD are:
- Gastrointestinal, PIDD, TPN & Liver Family Weekend: March 10-12
- Arthritis and IBD Family Weekend: April 7-9
- Arthritis and IBD Family Weekend: November 3-5
For more information, check out their Family Weekend Program page: http://thepaintedturtle.org/programs/camp-programs/family-weekend-program/
You can find more information at The Painted Turtle website here: http://thepaintedturtle.org/
In addition, The Painted Turtle’s parent organization, The SeriousFun Children’s Network, may be able to offer more opportunities for children with IBD. The SeriousFun Children’s Network has various programs to help and empower children around the world. For more information on their global programs, visit their camp page here: http://www.seriousfunnetwork.org/camps-and-programs/about-camps