Thank you for your interest in being a volunteer for Camp Hope! Camp Hope relies completely on volunteers to help provide a fun, safe experience for our campers.
What is it?
Camp Hope is a camp for kids and teens who have, or have had, cancer. Our goal is to provide a normal camp experience to campers who may otherwise be denied this opportunity because of their underlying illness.
When is it?
Camp Hope is held the third full week of June each summer. Most years it starts on Father’s Day.
How much does it cost?
Camp Hope is provided FREE of charge to all attendees.
Where is it located?
Camp Hope is held at Camp Aldrich near Claflin, Kansas. More information about Aldrich can be found here. All of the cabins are air-conditioned. There are concrete paths connecting all of the main areas of camp. There is a swimming pool with licensed lifeguards, a basketball court, a playground, a kickball court and more. The campground is approximately 90 minutes from Wichita and 4 hours from Kansas City.
Volunteers must be at least 19 years of age. No camping experience is required; only a desire and energy to give some great kids the best week of their lives. Volunteers in general should be comfortable living in a group situation (i.e. cabins) and be able to function in loud environments (such as eating meals in a dining hall). Volunteers should also be able to easily adapt in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful, environment. Volunteers must also be physically able to assist in emergencies, participate in activities and be able to independently maneuver throughout an ADA-compliant camp. All volunteers must undergo a yearly background check which includes a check of the National Sex Offender Registry. In addition we routinely screen volunteers against state-specific child abuse registries. New volunteers must have an interview and reference check as well.
Volunteer time commitment
Volunteers are required to spend the entire week at camp, starting with orientation the Saturday before camp begins. Medical volunteers may attend for 3 days, although we recommend a full week if possible.
What should I expect if I volunteer?
New volunteers are often concerned that camp will be a sad experience. Once they attend they quickly realize that it is quite the contrary. Yes, you will see kids who are bald or missing limbs or sick but all of them will be having a great time. They will be swimming, fishing, bowling, golfing, dancing, playing basketball, doing crafts, and just having fun. You will quickly forget that you are at a camp for “kids with cancer” and will be loving your week at a camp “for amazing kids”.
When can I apply?
Applications for new volunteers will be available in mid-January each year. Returning volunteer applications are available each year on January 2nd. Most years we accept around 120 volunteers and we average 100 returning volunteers each year. That means the spaces fill quickly so get your application in early.
There are 5 volunteer positions available:
Activities: Activities volunteers help organize and run all of the daily events at Camp. They make sure that the activities are running smoothly and safely. These volunteers help with everything from running the arts and crafts tent to organizing a basketball pick up game. Activities volunteers should be energetic and out-going. We also have a creative team whose job is to take photographs, videos, create the yearbook and write the daily newsletter.
Houseparents: Houseparents are the “moms and dads” at Camp. These volunteers are assigned a small group of campers and are responsible for making sure those campers are safe and having fun. Houseparents stay in the same cabins with their assigned campers, eat meals with their campers and participate in activities with their campers. They truly are parents for the week. Houseparents must be at least 21 years of age.
Kitchen: If you enjoy cooking, this is the place for you. Kitchen volunteers help organize and prepare all of the meals at camp. These volunteers could do anything from cutting vegetables to decorating a birthday cake. There are usually around 200 people to feed so the kitchen volunteers have a challenging job but when the campers demand a “Cooks Parade” in appreciation, they quickly remember why they do it.
Logistics: The logistics volunteers are vital to the success of camp. They assist in the preparation and tear down of daily camp activities. They often work behind the scenes to make sure Camp Hope goes off without a hitch. Facilities volunteers should be able to lift and move large objects (approx 40lbs).
Medical: Camp Hope functions with a full medical team at all times. These volunteers are on-site and with the campers 24 hours a day. The general function of a medical volunteer is to help make sure the campers are safe and healthy. Depending on the specific role, this can include providing first aid, administering medications (including chemo), and performing minor procedures. Our medical staff participates in Camp activities; they do not simply staff the medical cabin. The medical team consists of the following positions: physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, RN/LPNs, pharmacists and mental health specialists (psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, psychiatrists etc). You may request full job descriptions for each of those positions. All medical volunteers must be licensed in Kansas in their respective field.
We hope you decide to volunteer at Camp. If you do, we promise you a fun, exhausting, rewarding and ultimately life-changing week. There is a reason why our volunteers return year after year. It truly is one of the best weeks of the year. Volunteer applications are available in early January each year. We hope to see you next June!