College Prep Camp

Children with cancer are up to 15 times less likely to attend college than their own siblings. Although we’ve provided our campers with cherished childhood memories for over 37 years, we want to make sure our campers are set up for success in their adult lives. Therefore, we are proud to present College Prep Camp, a new program designed to prepare our campers for college and beyond.

College Prep Camp will take place during Session 1 of Summer Camp, July 7-11. The program will feature guest speakers and camp alumni covering a range of topics surrounding the college admission process. Participants will speak to college counselors, directors, and students. They will explore potential majors, search for colleges that fit their preferences, learn about financial aid, and will even fill out the Common Application, which is used by more than 750 colleges nationwide. 

We are extremely excited to offer this new program. Registration for College Prep Camp will open soon. If you or anyone you know is involved in college admissions and would like to help out, please contact Ryan Campbell at ryan@happinessiscamping.org.

Read more...

Counselor and Mentorship Program

Researchers at The University of Illinois conducted a study in 2017 regarding the effects of pediatric cancer on adult survivors. They found that adult survivors of pediatric cancer are five times less likely to get a job than their peers without cancer, and up to FIFTEEN TIMES less likely to go to college than their own siblings. We believe our responsibility for our campers continues long after they age out, so we developed the Counselor and Mentorship Program (CAMP).

CAMP features three components designed to decrease the effects of pediatric cancer on our campers as they enter the “real world.” The first component uses hands-on STEM education to generate interest in these subjects, inspiring our CAMPers to major in them in college. The second component teaches CAMPers basic life skills, including cooking, first aid, applying to college, doing laundry, and changing a tire. The third component gives our CAMPers real working experience, as they assist counselors in younger cabins each night and learn the various duties of being a counselor.

After a highly successful inaugural year, we are making some exciting changes in 2019. CAMPers will now attend for a three week program (as opposed to the two week program offered in 2018). This gives us even more time to introduce them to fantastic guest speakers, and also gives them more working experience in the cabins. We hope to welcome new speakers this year, including former camper Jay Riley, Director of Alumni at the University of South Florida-Sarasota. Jay will teach our CAMPers about the college application process and will even introduce them to current students, advisers, and professors!

CAMP is open to all 16 year old children with cancer, as well as 16 year old siblings. Our first year was a huge success and featured a great group of CAMPers, and we can’t wait to continue to build this program.

Read more...

Meet our First Counselor from Germany: Lars!

Camp has always been home to staff members from all over the world. Over our history, we’ve had staff from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Mexico, South Africa, Ukraine, and many other countries. HIC maintains a partnership with Camp America, an organization designed to match international students with roles in American camps.

This year, we were privileged to host our first counselor from Germany: Lars! Lars joined the HIC family from Munchweiler, a small village near the border of France. His background in engineering immediately stood out to us. Lars has even won awards for designing and 3D printing model cars! With the inauguration of our Counselor and Mentorship Program (which features a STEM component) we were excited to add him to our staff.

Lars became an instant sensation with both the kids and his fellow counselors. As a counselor of the Cheyenne, our oldest boys, he was often surrounded by campers copying his accent and asking him questions about Germany. The high point of Lars’ summer came when he was awarded “Actor of the Year” for his role as the villain in the Cheyenne’s Hollywood Premier film. When asked about his HIC experience, Lars said, “It was a great experience. I learned a lot about the American culture and the work with the kids was really fun.”

The fact that our campers were able to get a glimpse of the German culture through Lars’ presence was invaluable. Do you also want an authentic German experience? Join us at our Oktoberfest at the Black Forest Inn on Tuesday, September 25 at 6:00pm. Enjoy a German buffet, listen to live music, and bid on small tricky tray items, including Walt Disney World theme park tickets! For tickets to our Oktoberfest, visit https://www.happinessiscamping.org/oktoberfest-registration/

Read more...

2019 Camp Dates: Time to Start the Countdown

It has been 34 days since Summer Camp has ended. For most of the campers, that’s way too long since the last time they saw their friends. For some of our parents, that’s way too much time that their kids have spent at home (thank goodness for school starting). For Rich and Ryan, that’s WAY too much time being cooped up in the office together.

Well today, we officially turn our full attention to the 2019 season. Today, the countdown to Summer 2019 begins! The dates are as follows:

  • Session 1: July 7-11
  • Session 2: July 14-18
  • Session 3: July 21-25
  • Session 4: July 28-August 1
  • Session 5: August 4-9

As you may notice, these are the same weeks as Summer Camp 2018. There is one small change; Session 5 (and ONLY Session 5) will end on FRIDAY, August 9. This gives us one extra night to celebrate and host Prom! Registrations will begin soon on CampDoc, and we will let you know as soon as they open! So…ONLY 297 DAYS UNTIL CAMP!!!

Tune in next week when we reveal our theme. It’s going to be magical!

Read more...