A one week miracle for children with cancer.
“For the first time, I had friends who could truly understand my experience and treatment." ----Zack, age 17
2015 Camp Session: August 17 – 24th
For more than 25 years, The Valerie Fund has operated Camp Happy Times, a free one-week overnight camp experience for children aged 5-21 who have or have had cancer. Nearly 200 children each summer attend Camp Happy Times located at the two hundred acre
Camp Happy Times promotes friendship, independence, and a spirit of cooperation for cancer patients and survivors. The CHT philosophy is to provide a recreationally therapeutic environment that engages participants while building self-esteem, confidence, trust and friendship.
The hallmark of the Camp Happy Times experience is that while they are there, the campers do not feel self-conscious about their illness. Campers consistently revel in the fact that they don’t have to explain their disease to their fellow campers:
“We understand each other and what we have been through.” ---Casey, age 14
I look forward to visiting Camp Happy Times every summer, with children who [understand] and [are] more accepting of my differences. I try to stay strong and this is one of the things that keep me going all through the school year.” ----Amanda, age 12
Campers are encouraged to take on the challenges of various daily activities. They are divided into similar age groups where they learn new skills and develop self-confidence. For many, this is their first time away from home and Camp Happy Times offers a comforting environment that encourages the development of the campers. Lifelong bonds are established between kids who all know what it's like to be sick.
“My Camp Happy Times experiences helped me define how I want to be seen as a cancer survivor. It helped me resolve many issues having to do with cancer that medicines couldn’t cure.” ---- John, age 38
Staff and counselors are all volunteers. Applicants for CHT staff positions are carefully screened prior to acceptance. Many counselors are former campers and return annually. At camp, new counselors are teamed with experienced counselors. All attend an intense training session, which maintains our high standards of professionalism. The camper-to-counselor ratio is a low 2:1 to ensure that a caring, qualified counselor is always nearby.
Infirmary staff is comprised of Valerie Fund doctors and nurses, who administer chemotherapy, evaluate blood counts and prescribe and administer medications to the campers throughout the week. Medical staff are on premises 24 hours a day. Valerie Fund social workers and child life specialists are also on site and available at all times.
Our leadership program is an essential program for 20-22 year olds. Specifically designed to promote emotional growth and positive change in teenagers, participants learn how to be confident and acquire decision-making and leadership skills. They develop the emotional maturity and confidence needed to be the leaders of the future.
The Valerie Fund offers Camp Happy Times free of charge, including transportation, meals and on-site medical care. We are proud that approximately eighty cents of every dollar donated to Camp Happy Times goes right back to the kids.