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AYA Camps and Outdoor Programs

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Camp Mak-A-Dream – www.campdream.org
Camp Mak-A-Dream provides medically-supervised, cost-free Montana experiences, in an intimate community setting for young adults (ages 18-40) affected by cancer. Apply online at www.campdream.org.

  • June 6-June 12

Dream Street at Canyon Ranch – www.dreamstreetfoundation.org
Dream Street provides nationwide camping programs for young adults (ages 18-24) with chronic and life threatening illnesses at the Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Young adults with cancer, blood disorders, and other diseases are given the opportunity to enjoy activities and "spa" services they would normally be restricted from due to their illness. Dream Street is a cost free camp that also pays transportation costs. This year Dream Street will be offering two separate weeks for young adults. Apply online at www.dreamstreetfoundation.org.

  • June 19-26 and August 7-14

First Descents www.firstdescents.org
First Descent provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (age 18-39) impacted by cancer. First Descent offers a multitude of cost-free adventure programs for young adults both on and off treatment. First Descents programming offers young adult fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. Please visit the First Descents websites to find a program fit for you.

Big Sky Kids – www.eaglemount.org/programs/summer/big-sky-kids
Big Sky Kids oncology camps are designed for young people with cancer and their families. Big Sky Kids offers a Young Adult Retreat. YAR is designed for young adults (16-23) in remission. For a full week, you'll be immersed in adventurous outdoor activities, the camaraderie of a small group, and the opportunity to develop the unique and powerful leadership skills within yourself. YAR is a travelling camp with an itinerary that changes from year to year, so veteran campers get to see many different aspects of Montana's beauty. The retreat is medically supervised by a volunteer nurse and the only cost is transportation to and from Bozeman, MT.

True North Treks – http://www.truenorthtreks.org/
True North Treks is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting young adult cancer survivors in the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor, through short term wilderness experiences, during which participants learn outdoor skills as well as mindfulness meditation. True North Treks requires that you must have been diagnosed with cancer between ages 18 and 39 years and that you are currently off treatment. Apply online at www.truenorthtreks.org.

  • July 24th-30th: Backpacking Trek in Northwest Idaho (Survivor trip)
  • August 21-27: Canoeing Trek in Northern Minnesota (Survivor trip)
  • September 11th-17th: Canoeing Trek in Utah (Survivor/Caregiver trip)
  • October 2nd-8th: Canoeing Trek in Utah (Survivor trip)
  • October 27th-30th: Mini Trek in UP of Michigan (Survivor trip)

Survive & Thrivewww.survivethrive.org
Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs uses adventure expeditions, film, healthy living, experiential education and research to encourage and inspire those touched by cancer to live well. Come on a once in a lifetime rafting, kayaking, canoeing or sailing trip to places like the Grand Canyon, the Owyhee River, Lake Superior or the Discovery Islands. Wherever you are in your cancer journey, Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs will help you "Reflect. Refocus. Rebuild." your life in a way that is meaningful to you so that you can live well living with, through or beyond cancer. Participants will be required to pay or fundraise all, or a portion of their own expedition fees and travel expenses in order to come on an expedition. Please visit www.survivethrive.org for more information.

  • July 1-July 9: Owyhee River Kayaking Expedition
  • July 23-July 30: Voyager Canoe Expedition
  • August 10-17: Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition

Epic Experiencewww.epicexperience.org
Epic Experience offers free week-long outdoor experience to individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer. Experiences will be based upon outdoor adventure activities such as stand up paddle boarding and kayaking and during the winter months snowshoeing and building snow caves. Throughout the experience, participants will be encouraged to recognize the reality that cancer is a part of their story, but it does not define them. Connections with other individuals who share a similar story create a community that lasts long after their Epic Experience has ended. Please visit www.epicexperience.org for more information.

Athletes 4 Cancerwww.athletes4cancer.org
Athletes 4 Cancer harnesses the healing power of the elements with the determination of the human spirit to benefit lives affected by cancer. Our organization focuses on renewing, rebuilding, and restarting lives after cancer through outdoor adventure. Athletes 4 Cancer uses adventure-based experiences such as surfing, outrigger canoeing, standup paddling, skiing and snowboarding, as channels of healing, achievement and life-renewal that treat the mind, body, and soul. Athletes 4 Cancer's programs aim to help young adult survivors (ages 18-39) not just survive, but thrive in all aspects of life, inspiring others facing cancer to do the same. Please visit www.athletes4cancer.org for more information.

Possible resources for financial assistance for attending camp:

  • The Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation offers travel assistance and funding to campers. However, all travel assistance funding is based on a first come, first serve basis with preference given to first time campers at www.cassiehinesshoescancer.org/camps.
  • L.I.F.E. provides assistance to cancer patients in need. Please visit their website at www.givetolife.org to apply. Criteria for assistance include all patients must be between the ages of 18 and 30; the person must be diagnosed with cancer and currently in treatment; the person must be in a state of financial need; and the application should be submitted by a social worker or medical caregiver.
  • Cook Children's Medical Center may be able to assist in paying travel expenses to and from camp if you are currently on treatment or have been off of treatment for up to 2 years. To accommodate as many patients as possible, Cook Children's can only provide travel assistance for one camp per year, for up to three years. Please contact Laura Sonefeld at 682-885-4047 for assistance.
  • Please note that some of these camps/programs also offer individual scholarships to assist with either camp costs or transportation. Please call the program directly for further details.

We're here to help

Please see individual websites for dates of available camps and to download camp applications. Contact Laura Sonefeld at 682-885-4047 for more information.