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/
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 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.
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/Camp Got2Go is an overnight summer camp for children and youth ages 7-18 living with crohn’s, colitis, an ostomy, or a cecostomy.
Campers take part in a variety of specialized activities including canoeing, drama, cooking, environmental education, outdoor recreation, fine arts, swimming and most importantly meeting another child or youth who shares a similar experience.” -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.
For more information, visit the Camp Guts & Glory page here: https://brigadoonvillage.org/camp/guts-glory-got2go/
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, including one or more sessions specifically made to be inclusive of kids with IBD and/or those on TPN (total parenteral nutrition).
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.”
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
Hi Dan,mI’m in the UK. Are you aware of any similar events here? Also, do any of these camps look for volunteers to help run them? I am a UC patient and youth worker.
I don’t know of an IBD-specific camp in the UK, but SeriousFun Children’s Network has some UK camps that serve patients with a variety of conditions, including IBD. You can get more info at Over the Wall http://www.otw.org.uk/, as well as at http://www.seriousfunnetwork.org/camps-and-programs/find-a-camp.
I have found some IBD-specific camps around Europe and elsewhere that I will be adding eventually.