Push the Limits

stef and staff at camp

A childhood diagnosis of cancer or serious illness affects kids well into their teen years.

Faced with long-term symptoms, teens and young adults can live in fear, anxiety, or depression about their future. Depending on their diagnosis, some teens may have limited mobility, which prevents them from joining extra-curricular activities and other ways to make friends.

At Campfire Circle, we are experiencing an unprecedented demand for our Teen & Leadership programs. This summer, we need to double the number of spaces from 40 teen campers to 80, giving youth ages 15 to 18 the opportunities to embrace their future with new skills in a supportive environment.

Stefani was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 11 years old but didn’t attend camp until a couple years later.

“When I was introduced to Campfire Circle, I didn’t want to go because I was scared to be in an unfamiliar environment with other kids. I was also worried to open myself up about my cancer journey, and I thought I would have to talk about what happened to me in the past. I didn’t know what to expect so I shut down the idea. Two years later, they told me about it again, and I was more open-minded, so I decided to go. It was probably the best decision I have ever made,” says Stefani.

stef holding a fish at camp

“The first time I went to camp I wore a wig. I always wore it in public because I was never comfortable with people seeing me without it. On the bus ride there, I didn’t think anyone knew I had one,” she says. “When we got there it was hot, and the girls in my cabin recognized that I wanted to take it off. They told me that it was okay because we were in a place where it was normal and people wouldn’t look at me like I was different.”

Support Future Leaders

After her initial camp experience, Stefani enrolled in Campfire Circle’s leadership programs, which include7Scape (a one-week experience for teens with cancer), Leader-in-Training programs (a two weeks experience with multi-day camping trips), and also our High School Credit Program (a three-week program that culminates in a health and physical activity credit).

stef at the plinko tent at sl10k

Now in her 20s and in university, Stefani learned valuable skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork, and critical thinking that she now applies to school, her job and her sports team.

Looking back at her time at camp, Stefani says she learned new skills, but the experience had other benefits, too.

“Cancer deteriorated my self-confidence, and the programs helped me boost myself back up.”

“I definitely feel that the support of camp, and ultimately other survivors, has made me feel less scared and alone facing my future. Dealing with the reality of my health and that I have a whole life ahead of me is really weird, and something that doesn’t come naturally to childhood cancer survivors, so being able to connect with others in the same boat is very reassuring and therapeutic.” — Camper, Leadership Program

Each space costs $2,500 to support an amazing and budding future camp leader. With donor support, we hope to raise $100,000 this summer and double our program to meet this demand.

If you are interested in championing teen leaders, we invite you to donate today, and your gift will be double matched by generous donor!

stef on city tv

Donate Today
The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.
Skip to content