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Five summer camp programs for kids and teens with ostomies

“I've found my people!"

It's been proven through research that kids are happier and gain essential social and emotional skills while at summer camp. If your child has an ostomy, you may be wondering… Is there a special program for them? The answer is YES! What's great is that these camps are staffed by physicians, nurses, or health professionals experienced in working with medical needs or physical disabilities. Here's a look at some of the options.

[1] Youth Rally

Youth Rally is a week-long summer camp for youth living with congenital birth defects, chronic illness, or various traumas that affect the bowel and bladder. Campers make new friends, learn life skills, face challenges, build self-esteem, and have FUN!

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"Every year I look forward to getting together with the friends I’ve made at Youth Rally and just being me… not the sick kid, or the tired kid, but me. I've found my people!" – Cody Mitchem

[2] Camp Oasis

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation established Camp Oasis over a decade ago for children and teens (grades 3-10) with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Campers can enjoy the outdoors, meet new people, and participate in fun activities in a supportive environment. 

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“The impact that Camp Oasis had on me was incredible. It showed me that I can open up about my disease and not be ashamed. I gained lifelong friends and I no longer feel like an outcast for having ulcerative colitis." – Missy O’Doherty

[3] Camp Horizon

Easter Seals Camp Horizon was founded in 1966 to give children and adults with disabilities and special needs a life-changing outdoor experience. Set in Kananaskis Country in Alberta, the ostomy youth camp program is run by Ostomy Canada for children ages 9-18 with bowel or bladder disabilities.

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"Camp was not just about getting over the fear of having an ostomy, but also getting over the fear of white water rafting (which I did). Camp was not just camp. Camp was a support system." – Jessica Grossman, Uncover Ostomy

[4] Camp Guts & Glory

Located in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Camp Guts & Glory is an overnight summer camp for youth ages 7-18 living with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ostomies, or cecostomy. Campers take part in activities including canoeing, cooking, outdoor recreation, fine arts, and more. Most importantly, they meet other children who share a similar experience.

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"Ostomy Halifax will pay for a child from Atlantic Canada if a family does not have the means to cover the camp registration fee." – Ostomy Halifax Society

[5] Camp Reach for the Sky

Camp Reach for the Sky is an all-out camping adventure for children who have or have had cancer. Featuring a “Med Shed” housing medical equipment on premise, this overnight camp experience is fully staffed by dedicated physicians and nurses ready to handle anything from bug bites to chemotherapy and IV antibiotics. It’s a magical place where kids can shed the label of “cancer patient” and enjoy a fun-filled week to remember forever surrounded by lifelong friends who understand where they’re coming from.

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