Camp Kids Are Kids Chicago (CKAKC), a nonprofit organization started in 2013 with its inaugural camp in August 2014, is a camp for kids living with cancer in a fun, safe and medically sound urban recreational environment and with no financial cost to campers families. The third annual camp, with a “Lights, Camera, Action!” theme, was held July 31 – August 5, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago Hotel with suites converted into bunk cabins to simulate a campground. The 2016 camp was a remarkable experience for 25 amazing kids ages 6 -16 from the Chicago area. Camping activities held at the hotel as well as neighboring parks and near-by locations, included campfires and cookouts, camp songs, skits, arts and crafts, games and a talent show. In addition to the typical camping activities, the kids had the opportunity to enjoy many child-friendly events and attractions throughout the city and surrounding area – a scavenger hunt at the Lincoln Park Zoo; swim party at the hotel; a barbeque dinner, swimming and campfire at Evanston Country Club; special Movie Magic sessions where each camper was able to create their own movie; a tour, gifts and campfire sponsored by Chicago Fire Department Engine Co. 98; making their own pizza at Homeslice pizza party; a lake dinner cruise with dancing and fireworks; a fun-filled beach day with the Chicago Fire Department’s Air & Sea Rescue Team on Lake Michigan; an unique and exclusive overnight stay at the Shedd Aquarium; a premier of the 2016 camp video and their very own movie on a the big screen at Hollywood Blvd Cinemas with patents and siblings present. What an exciting week! Parents, siblings and families were invited and welcomed on camp opening day and our camp closing ceremony and social.
CKAKC is a proud member of Children’s Oncology Camping Association-International (COCA-I), an organization of 92 member camps, founded in 1982, and which served the needs of 35,500 campers in 2014. COCA-I is a nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen the international community of camps for children with cancer and their families through networking, education and advocacy. As stated by Dave Smith, former President of COCA-I, who attended CKAKC 2014, “This is COCA-I’s first urban camp ever and will become a model which will be the beginning of an urban camping experience which will touch the lives of many campers and their families”.
We are happy to say that Camp Kids Are Kids Chicago 2014, 2015, and 2016 were huge successes and incredible fun for our campers, where they learned life-skills, team building, coping mechanisms and found support, acceptance and friendships which extend into their everyday lives. We look forward to CKAKC 2017 and we invite you to join us in this phenomenal event for kids with cancer.