Ronald McDonald Camp
Each August, over two hundred campers pack their bags and head to Ronald McDonald Camp.
Located in the beautiful Pocono mountains—just three hours outside of Philadelphia—Ronald McDonald Camp looks like a traditional summer camp, but as anyone who has been there knows, it is so much more. RMC is a place where kids with cancer, and their siblings, can enjoy just being kids. It’s a week of fun and friendship and freedom from being different. It’s a chance to experience new activities and acquire new skills in a supportive, nurturing environment. It’s a time when kids can talk openly about cancer and everybody else understands.
RMC 2018 will take place August 12th – August 18th.
Who Can Go?
Ronald McDonald Camp is for children ages 7 to 17 who are currently undergoing treatment or who have been treated for cancer. Each camper may bring one sibling with them to attend Camp. Senior Camp is specially designed for teens ages 13 to 17 and gives them the opportunity to choose their own activities in a structured environment. Junior Camp provides age-appropriate camp activities filled with fun and challenge for children ages 7 to 12. There is also a Leader in Training (LIT) and Counselor in Training (CIT) program for current campers and first-time patients and survivors, ages 18 and 19, which helps them develop leadership skills through team building and hands-on experience with campers.
In order to be eligible as a LIT (Leader in Training), you must be at least 18 and have graduated high school at the time of Camp and be either a cancer patient/survivor or a sibling. Siblings must have attended RMC in the past as a camper. To be eligible as a CIT (Counselor in Training), you should have completed the LIT program at RMC.
How do I register to become a Camper or LIT/CIT?
Applications will be posted here for campers and LIT/CIT on January 15, 2018.
Become a Volunteer Counselor at RMC:
Each year we look for mature, caring individuals who love to serve children and enjoy the rustic, outdoor camping experience. We are aware that the role of a Camp counselor is not for everyone and encourage you to read the information provided and ask questions before applying for this position. Positions are limited, as we are fortunate to have an over 75% return rate of previous volunteer staff. The information below will help you discover more about the role and expectations of our Camp counselors and how to begin the process of becoming a part of our dynamic and passionate Camp community. We can guarantee that this experience is one that will change your life.
What is Our Camp Mission?
The mission of Ronald McDonald Camp is to provide a true overnight camp experience for children who have been treated and are being treated for cancer as well as their siblings, ages 7-17. Our camper-centered program is designed to foster independence, friendship, and group belonging among campers who share a common experience with cancer. The ultimate goal is to be a place where kids can enjoy being kids.
Who are our Volunteer Counselors?
Our more than 130 volunteer counselors are a diverse group from all walks of life, with different personalities and a multitude of talents and strengths. Our counselors range in age from 20 to over 70 years old, with a median age of about 35 years old. Approximately 20% of our staff are former campers and we experience a return rate of over 75% each year.
What Qualities are Important for Camp Counselors?
We are looking for individuals who love serving children, are mature decision makers and who can adapt easily to camp life in a rustic, outdoor setting. It is important to know that as rewarding as this experience is for many, being a counselor is also a test of flexibility, patience, and the ability to share your space closely with children and other adults 24/7 for an entire week. Great interpersonal and communication skills, flexibility in a dynamic environment, enthusiasm for our Camp program, ability to effectively deal with conflict, a positive, healthy attitude and frequent smiles are all vital qualities of our counselors!
Our program is camper centered and we look for people who are willing to put aside their own interests and comforts in order to serve our campers first. Being in good physical shape is also important, as our camp facility has rugged terrain and you will find yourself on your feet all day long.
What is the Time Commitment for Volunteer Counselors?
In order to be fully prepared and ready to be a great counselor, there is an application and training process that we require of every volunteer counselor as follows:
- An initial interview after receipt of application.
- Criminal and child abuse background clearances.
- A group interview and orientation for all new applicants at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House- Front & Erie (100 E. Erie Ave.) on a Saturday in June.
- Approximately 3 hours of online training on your own time schedule.
- The entire camp week, beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 11 and ending at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 18
What do Counselors do at Camp?
From the moment our campers step off the bus on Sunday afternoon until the following Saturday morning, our counselors and staff work together 24/7 to create the magical RMC experience! There are usually 3 counselors in a cabin of 8-10 children, and the daily schedule depends on campers’ ages. The day begins at 7 a.m. and ends about 10 p.m. and is filled with what we like to call our “special camp moment”- times when we are privileged to witness friendships blossoming, challenges overcome, and precious camper smiles. It’s also filled with the practical: getting campers to meals, activities, and to bed on time, resolving conflicts, dealing with typical childhood behavior and being active from the time you wake up until the time your head hits your pillow at night!
It is a constant team effort among bunk counselors and our entire staff to foster a positive, inclusive environment. Most importantly, counselors are responsible for the safety and well-being of every camper they come into contact with. Our medical and psychosocial staff is trained to handle specific issues related to cancer or other medical conditions; counselors are only responsible for being aware of the general health of their campers and reporting any changes to the medical staff. We consider ourselves a camp family and create an environment at camp where everyone belongs and everyone has the opportunity to succeed at what they set out to do.
How do I apply to be an RMC Counselor?
Volunteer Counselor applications will be posted here on January 15, 2018.
Please feel free to contact Cindy Candela-Ryan, Camp Director, with any questions.