KOA Care Camps: Caring for Kids with Cancer
For a child, few experiences are more enjoyable than summer camp. But for a child with cancer, camp can be more than just fun—it can be formative, too.
No one understands the importance of camp better than the kindhearted people of KOA, the world’s largest network of campgrounds. That’s why KOA owners from across the country came together to form the KOA Care Camps Trust, a foundation that funds specialized camp experiences for children with cancer.
The goal of KOA Care Camps is to provide healing and hope for children with cancer by offering them all the fun and games that come with a regular camp experience—but in a safe, uplifting environment. Since these children are surrounded by both medical professionals and other kids who understand what they’ve gone through, they are able to let go of their cares and simply be themselves.
Since its origin in 1984, KOA Care Camps has raised more than $5.5 million for campers with cancer. Funding increases every year—in fact, over $550,000 was raised in 2013 alone. But for Wade Elliott, secretary of the KOA Care Camps Board of Trustees, that’s not good enough. He’s been working tirelessly to gain more support from related organizations so that the foundation can reach $7 million this year.
But KOA isn’t simply expecting handouts—it’s also reaching into its own pockets. To cover the administration expenses of KOA Care Camps, the company is donating a portion of its KOA Value Kard to the charity. Elliott hopes this contribution will ensure that “every cent of every dollar can go toward sending a kid to camp.”
It’s clear that KOA Care Camps truly does care about kids with cancer. But to the staff, they’re not just “kids with cancer.” At KOA Care Camps, they can simply be kids.
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