Thanks in large part to the generosity of KOA campers across North America, more than $1 million was raised in 2014 to support KOA Care Camps for children with cancer.
The KOA Care Camps network of 94 specialized summer camps throughout the U.S. and Canada provide a quality camping experience for children fighting cancer, allowing them to set aside their illnesses and simply be kids.
Kampgrounds of America and the KOA Owners Association began collecting funds for Care Camps in the early 1980s. In 1984, a total of $7,100 was raised and distributed. Over the years, the KOA Care Camps Trust was formed, and donations skyrocketed. By 1999, $188,000 in donations was received. In 2005, the number was $250,000. It hit $620,000 by 2010 and topped the $1 million mark this past November.
Since all administrative fees for the Care Camps Trust are covered by corporate donations, every cent of every dollar donated by campers goes directly to send kids with cancer to a KOA Care Camp.
The 486 KOA Campgrounds in North America provide campers with opportunities to give to Care Camps throughout the year, with special fundraising weekends and events. Each KOA has a donation collection box near the front desk for cash donations.
The 2015 KOA Care Camps Big Weekend will be May 8-9 at participating KOAs. Campers who stay at a participating KOA on Friday, May 8 will be able to camp on Saturday, May 9 for just $10. The entire $10 fee will go directly to benefit KOA Care Camps.
Since the camps must be equipped with special medical equipment and staffs, camp can be expensive. The cost of sending a single child to a KOA Care Camp for one week can run as high as $3,000. But, thanks to your donations, each and every KOA Care Camp experience is absolutely free for the children and their families.
“The kids and teens who come here don’t have to explain why they look different,” said Beth Jones, director of the Camp Mak-A-Dream Care Camp in Missoula, Montana. “They don’t have to explain why they don’t have hair or an arm. They can come here and be themselves.”
The need for the KOA Care Camps Network has never been greater. The number of Care Camps jumped from 52 to 94 in 2014 after the American Cancer Society changed its primary mission and dropped funding for the camps.
How To Give:
To learn more about Care Camps, check out this video
Again, thanks from the hundreds of KOA owner and staff in North America, and the thousands of children who enjoy summer camp through your generosity.