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.
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Want to know what Camp is all about? Hear from our campers, counselors, and camp director in this video:
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. One sibling per camper also has the opportunity to attend. 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 Counselor in Training (CIT) program for current patients and survivors, ages 18 and 19, which helps them develop leadership skills through team building and hands-on experience with campers.
What Happens at Camp?
Ronald McDonald Camp is a week-long camp that includes all of the fun activities you would expect to find at an overnight summer camp, such as swimming, hiking, sports, arts and crafts, music, ropes adventure course, yoga, cooking, and so much more. Our programs are intentionally designed so that campers can participate regardless of the challenges they face or limitations they have. For many campers, the week at camp offers opportunities to try new things, discover new talents and gain a sense of self-confidence that often goes missing when battling cancer. For children who have felt isolated from their peers during their illness and for siblings who have felt left out, camp is an opportunity to join a family of campers and staff who understand. It is also a chance to develop a wide-reaching support network that will last long after the week of camp is over, quite often a lifetime.
What is the Cost?
There is no charge for any former or current patient. A nominal donation of $150 is requested for siblings. Funding for the week is provided solely through the contributions and donations from individuals and organizations. The actual cost per camper exceeds $500.
Who are the Camp Staff?
Our more than 100 volunteer staff are a diverse group of caring people who are all age 20 or older, with a median age of 35. Approximately 20% of our staff are former campers themselves. We also bring a full team of medical and psychosocial staff from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All staff are positive adult role models who are passionate about carrying out our camp mission and in recent years our staff return rate has been over 75%. Our camper to counselor ratio is about 3-1, and we are able to provide a smaller ratio and one-on-one assistance for campers when appropriate. This means parents feel secure knowing that their children are in good hands, and campers get a taste of independence to explore, grow and challenge themselves in a safe, medically supervised environment filled with encouragement, fun and peer friendship.
How was Camp Started?
When Dr. Audrey Evans, co-founder of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, established Ronald McDonald Camp in 1986, she envisioned a magical place where children, despite illness, could live their dream of enjoying summer camp. Today, camp fulfills that vision by providing children and their siblings with one of the best weeks of their year filled with joy, laughter, and the creation of life-long friendships and memories.