How do I apply or get accepted to attend Camp Keepsake?
In order to attend camp, you must submit an application and it must be approved for you and any of your guests. Applications can be downloaded from our website or can be sent out by our office staff if requested. Please feel free to contact our office for an application or additional information. Applications are reviewed for a variety of criteria which are taken into consideration in our selection process.
Do I need to be in current treatment for cancer in order to attend Camp Keepsake?
When possible, the directors of Camp Keepsake strive to achieve a certain mixture of adult campers who are currently in treatment for cancer with adult campers that are recently out of treatment and also with adult campers who are further out in remission. Should you have any questions, we highly encourage you to check our website and/or contact our office.
I’ve seen quite a few children in your pictures, is Camp Keepsake for children or adults?
Primary applicants for Camp Keepsake are adult cancer patients/survivors. However, since each accepted adult applicant can bring up to 5 guests cost free (enabling the accepted camper and his/her guests to all attend cost free), accepted guests (of accepted campers) can be of any age. We offer a multitude of activities for campers of various ages. Some accepted patients have brought their children, friends, spouses, caregivers… whomever they wanted to share their special camp time with. So, even though the primary patient/survivor camper is of adult age, their guests need not be.
Where do campers sleep?
Though it is camp, you do not sleep outdoors or in flimsy portable tents unless of course you want to. There are two main types of lodging we offer and then there’s the true (personal) tent experience.
TYPE ONE: The first type of lodging is our rustic, more permanent tent style cabins and this is where the majority of our campers and volunteers will be sleeping. These cabins have bunk-beds and can each sleep up to 8 people so they are well geared for large groups or combining of groups. They have hard flooring so it isn’t really like a tent as much as a cabin. People staying in these cabins have access to restrooms and showers that are located close by in separate buildings. These cabins do not have air conditioning though they do offer electricity so fans or heaters can be used. We encourage campers to bring small safe heaters in case it is a bit chilly at night. Please know, that depending on group sizes, we might put more than one group in a particular cabin to try and accommodate as many campers as possible. Keep in mind, since we have so many activities going on during the day and evening, the lodging is mostly just used for sleeping and storing of your items and we have ear plugs available so even snorers or those who don’t snore do not have to worry. We understand that you might be hesitant at the thought of sharing a room; especially realizing some in your group may have health concerns. However, that is part of the beauty of camp. Everyone seems to be accepting! In fact, we’ve found that families and even individual campers who have roomed together at camp have often become extremely close friends. We supply bottom sheets and accepted campers bring their own sleeping bags or bedding.
TYPE TWO: The second type of lodging is our 4 room cabins. Since there are only a few of these available, we strive to make these rooms available for people we feel mostly need the extra conveniences; though since the number of these rooms is limited, our placing campers in these rooms also tends to be more restrictive. These cabins are winterized, offering air conditioning, heat, electricity and offer in-door restrooms and showers. Each of these cabins has four separate rooms and each of the four rooms has its own sink. However, two rooms will share a toilet and shower. There are doors between the various rooms so as to enable a fair amount of privacy. Rooms have either 3 bunk beds (for a total of 6 beds) or 2 bunk beds (for a total of 4 beds). Similar to our tent style cabins, depending on group size, we may put more than one group in a particular room. Unfortunately there are no rooms available to campers that do not at least have a shared bathroom. We supply bottom sheets and accepted campers bring their own sleeping bags or bedding.
TYPE THREE: Perhaps you are a bit more adventurous or simply snore really loud or definitely don’t want to share a sleeping area… If that’s the case, we have some grassy area reserved for some of our guests to bring their own tents. If you have attended Camp Keepsake previously, this option may not have been available.
Unless otherwise notified, campers should plan on bringing their own pillows, blankets, and/or sleeping bags.
What’s the food like?
Main meals are served buffet style. We typically offer a variety of food from healthy to junk food and there are plenty of snack items available in-between meals. Smores by the fire, trail mix, fruit, and various candy… we have yet to hear of anyone going hungry at camp! Alcoholic beverages are not permitted within camp. Various sodas, juices, and waters are always available as are hot chocolate and coffees.
I need to go somewhere during the weekend. Is that OK?
Once at camp, it seems that people have a tough time leaving! Still, if you or anyone within your party chooses to leave camp for any reason, you of course are welcome to do so. For confidentiality and safety purposes we do our best to monitor peoples’ presence within camp, so we highly request you try to limit your coming and going. Moreover, we request that campers notify their counselor/host and one of the directors of their intended absence.
Is everyone at camp sick and depressed?
Far from it! Though some campers ill (and some more than others), many campers are amazed to find that it is often difficult to tell the patients/survivors from the non-patients/survivors. On the other hand, we also have wonderful medical personnel available at camp that make themselves available to all of our campers and staff 24 hours a day.
I don’t get around that well. Will this be a problem?
Though camp is a bit spread out, we normally have golf carts available especially to help those that need extra assistance getting around.
What will I need to bring with me?
If accepted to camp, a listing of suggested items to bring to the weekend retreat is sent out. Most of the items are common, everyday around the house items that many of our campers seem to already have on hand (such as towels, blankets, toiletries, a flashlight, etc.)
What type of medical attention is available at camp?
We are honored to have tremendous medical volunteers! We normally strive to have an MD as well as other medical and emergency personnel. In addition to making themselves available to address medical concerns, our medical personnel can often be seen participating alongside our campers in the various activities and thus are very approachable. We aim to have at least 2 medical personnel on site during the camp weekend. The medical staff is meant to address minor medical concerns and it is expected that for more serious concerns, people seek emergency medical attention.
What’s the weather normally like?
This seems to be the most challenging question as one never knows what Mother Nature might bring. We have been fortunate to have experienced mild climates for many of our camp sessions. Typically the days are a bit warmer and we recommend sun screen. While the nights are a bit cooler and we recommend jackets and sweatshirts.
I have a special diet. What should I do?
If you have a special diet, please be certain to advise the Camp Keepsake directors of such on both your application and if accepted, prior to the camp weekend. Though we may not be able to accommodate all requests, we believe you’ll find a desire to try and work with you to meet your needs (such as perhaps storing your own meals in our refrigerators or freezers).
How do I get to camp?
Once our campers are accepted to camp, the primary adult patient/survivor of the group is sent directions, emergency contact numbers and a listing of suggested things to bring. We intentionally try to not send out this information to campers until acceptance in an effort to maintain as secure of an environment as possible for our campers. In most cases, campers arrange their own transportation to and from camp.
I want to come to camp alone and don’t want to bring any guests. Is this O.K.?
We have had individual attendees and large groups attend our camp. Though many of our individual attendees have expressed that they wish one or more of their loved ones could have also experienced the wonder of Camp Keepsake, they have clearly indicated having enjoyed themselves tremendously even though they attended alone!
I want to bring more than 5 guests with me to camp. Is that possible?
Though our program is set up so accepted adult cancer patients/survivors can bring up to 5 guests cost free, we understand that in some instances campers feel a necessity to bring additional campers. Camper approval is based upon completed applications which should detail the guests the patient/survivor intends on bringing to camp. The number of accepted campers depends in part on Camp Keepsake’s funding and available accommodations. In some instances it may be possible to bring in additional guests that may coincide with fees. We would encourage you to discuss such concerns with CHF staff upon applying to camp.
The guests I was planning on bringing with me to camp can no longer come. Can I bring someone else in their place? Can I simply lower my group size?
We recognize that in some instances, the need or desire to change guests may become a concern. Camper approval is based upon information obtained from completed applications which should detail the guests the patient/survivor intends on bringing to camp (including certain medical and other background information). Our volunteer staffing, certain programming, food and lodging all are reliant on our anticipation of the campers attending (if accepted) from the completed applications we receive. The number of accepted campers depends in part on Camp Keepsake’s funding and available accommodations. Thus, in some instances, one or more guests’ cancellations may coincide with one or more other campers of one or more groups that previously was unable to, subsequently being able to attend. We encourage you to please discuss any group change concerns with CHF / Camp Keepsake staff as soon as it becomes apparent to you for us to evaluate.
One of my group members has become ill. Can they still attend camp?
Some of our campers may be more sensitive to certain health concerns. We ask that any illnesses known prior to or during camp be immediately brought to the attention of Cancer Hope Foundation / Camp Keepsake staff.
Will I need any money at camp?
Though you do not need any money at camp, we have learned that prior campers have indicated they needed money on their way to and from camp, for things such as gas or drinks they may get along their drive. We would encourage you to utilize your best judgment regarding what to bring to camp and would encourage you to lock up any valuables within your vehicle’s glove box or trunk.
My question hasn’t been answered here or I still feel as if I need more information. What do I do?
Obviously there are a multitude of important questions you might have that may not have been answered here or perhaps you would simply like further clarification. Should this be the case, please don’t hesitate to phone CHF at (805)384-5445 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org