June 6, 2017

Transplant Camps

Camp Okawehna

Camp Okawehna was founded in 1974 by Dialysis Clinic, Inc., (DCI), in order to  promote the overall wellbeing of pediatric renal patients and their families by supporting them in developing lives that are as normal as possible under the circumstances.

Typically held during the second full week in June,  Camp Okawehna provides everything, from accommodations, food, non-stop fun-filled activities and on-site medical facilities. Every effort is made to accommodate children with special needs, including those who are hearing or visually impaired, those with rigid dietary requirements, or individuals in wheelchairs. The campground, Cedar Crest Camp, is wheelchair accessible and transportation is provided by the shuttle bus.

Camp activities throughout the week include a ropes challenge course, canoeing, swimming, daily crafts projects, “themed” dances (including a prom), concerts on the lawn, a pine-wood derby car race, and the traditional Camp Okawehna Talent Show. Special events that have taken place in previous years include an on-site carnival as well as other corporate sponsored activities. Campers are expected to participate in activities as much as physically possible. Camp activities are geared to be fun but totally wholesome and to promote independence and growth on the part of the individual camper. This helps the camper develop a trusting relationship in a new environment, explore their full potential, and learn more about themselves.

Here’s what future campers need know:

  • Camp Okawehna is in Lyles, Tennessee, about 50 miles outside of Nashville
  • The camp welcomes approximately 100 children from around the US ages 6-18 who have a kidney transplant or are receiving treatment for kidney failure.
  • We offer on-site hemodialysis in the Stix unit and peritoneal dialysis is provided in the lodge. Children with a transplant are assigned a counselor who will ensure all medications are taken as scheduled.
  • We have incredibly talented and dedicated staff that attend each year. We have doctors and nurses available 24/7 during camp.
  • The camp is designed for the child and not the entire family. We believe the children need the freedom to visit and share with other children who understand exactly what they are experiencing. We often hear that this is the best part of camp (making friends that understand what they are going through).
  • Children are given the opportunity to explore a variety of activities, including: swimming, canoeing, fishing, ropes course, zip lining, field games, archery, arts and crafts, derby race, an extensive carnival, circus show, and a fully decorated prom with gowns tailored to each girl.
  • The cost to attend camp is $65 for the week, however, if a child cannot afford registration, we have scholarships available. No child is excluded for inability to pay.
  • Camp is typically held during the second full week in June.

Registration information can be found under “forms” at http://www.dciinc.org/campo/.

Camp Sunshine – Maine

A family camp in Maine and a retreat for children who have received solid organ transplant and their immediate family. They take applicants worldwide. The camp has a variety of fun activities for all ages. It also provides time for parents to connect and learn with other transplant parents.

All meals, lodging and activities are provided at no cost to families. A transportation request form can be filled out if assistance is needed in that area.

Applications, including eligibility information, are available online.

For more information, go to https://www.campsunshine.org/ or by calling (207) 655-3800.

Northwest Kidney Kids

Northwest Kidney Kids offers two Camps Programs – Family Camp and Youth Camp. Both are held at the Aldersgate Camp & Retreat Center in Turner, Oregon during August, the Kidney Camp experience provides a safe environment for children and families to gather for educational, parent and youth enrichment, emotional support, camaraderie and networking. Participants receive support from professionals who understand these challenges, and children and parents offer meaningful support to one another and develop friendships that extend beyond Camp. Kidney Camp encourages campers to see life beyond their disease while addressing the emotional issues associated with kidney disease and empowering Kidney Kids to achieve lifelong success.

Camp is one week and is held during the month of August.  Families from Oregon and SouthWest Washington are prioritized, after that they are glad to welcome kidney kids from any other state.  Open registration is April through June.  And camp is free of charge to all participants.  Youth camp is open to a child who is experiencing end stage renal failure and who has had a transplant or will need one by the end of high school.

If you are interested in attending Kidney Camp, please contact Julia by e-mailing julia@nwkidneykids.org or go to nwkidneykids.org.