Camp Ta-Kum-Ta’s wellness program serves children between the ages of 7-17 who have or have had cancer. All campers live in Vermont or are treated in Vermont. Many of these children are in the midst of cancer treatment while others are in remission. Some go to Camp for many years, while others are only healthy enough to attend for a single program. Regardless of one’s story, each child has a very special place at Camp TKT. There is never a charge to a child or family member to attend any Camp program.
As described by a current camper, “Camp is just amazing – it is the most wonderful parts of home, vacations, school, and people everywhere! I wouldn’t miss camp for anything. Every year there are lots of new campers, many who are still in treatment. When they come to Camp, they look tired, and some of them are experiencing the full effects of chemo or radiation. I remember what that felt like. But after the first day, that’s all gone, replaced by smiles and happiness and laughter… Camp Ta-Kum-Ta performs miracles that go beyond words.”
As Betty mentioned, at Camp, whether during the summer session, a winter weekend, or a holiday gathering, campers can just be themselves. They do not need to worry about their lack of hair, current physical limitations, or if they tire more easily than usual. They can focus on having fun and making friends. One morning a child may be playing kick ball or navigating the ropes course and that night they’ll be on a boat cruise dancing with their new best buds or dressed up for our TKT formal. The magic of Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is that is brings together some of the most amazing, inclusive, and empathetic people that one will ever meet, and every one of them just wants to make someone else smile.
At Camp Ta-Kum-Ta a “cancer kid” can simply be a kid again. Many of these children are unable to attend typical summer camps, school field trips, or birthday parties because the risk for them, their parents, and the camp is too high and their health and medications can’t be appropriately monitored. Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, thanks in part to a full-time volunteer staff of pediatric oncology nurses who can administer anything from a Band-Aid to chemotherapy onsite, gives these children the opportunities they deserve. While at TKT, campers make childhood memories, form lifelong friendships, find supportive peers and adults, and embrace hope while enjoying traditional camp activities such as swimming, athletics, ropes course, and crafts as well as Ta-Kum-Ta-specific traditions such as our water carnival, TKT formal, cabin pranks, midnight breakfasts, and nighttime ropes course adventures. For our winter camps, children look forward to activities such as ice skating, broomball, cooking competitions, snowshoeing, and projects with guest artists. Additionally, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as rock climbing expeditions, hot-air balloon rides, formal dances, and lake cruises.
Since its inception in 1984, over 1,500 children who have or had cancer have thrived mentally and physically while at Camp’s summer program and during year-round programming such as winter weekends, holiday events, and annual reunion celebrations. 200 volunteers, over ninety percent of whom return to Camp every year, are committed to giving sick and healing children the time of their lives year after year. Our volunteers never ask "can a child do it" but rather "how can we make it possible for him or her to be a part of it!” Furthermore, they do everything possible to serve not only the child, but his or her family as well. Camp TKT now offers programming specific for moms, dads, and siblings of campers as well as events for the entire family.
Vermont's Camp for Children with Cancer