Care Camps

With a little work and care, anyone can make a difference.

Over the last three decades, KOA campgrounds have been the leader in fundraising for Care Camps. The money raised at KOAs helps the children to attend specific oncology camps where volunteer medical staff and counselors helps the kids to have a camp experience while also living with a cancer diagnosis. 

With 135 oncology camps across North America and Canada, the camps are able to bring hope to thousands of children and their families every year. 

This year, however, fundraising efforts have drastically dwindled thanks to COVID, and the oncology camps are needing help more than ever to continue programming for children while they struggle with complete isolation, many having to be in quarantine since March. Camps all across the U.S. have continued to provide kids with connection and hope through a myriad of ways, but funding is desperately needed to keep these camps going. 

One campground in particular has been a shining light and is not letting the struggles of the pandemic stop them. The KOA in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is an example of how with a little work and care, anyone can make a difference.

Currently, Gettysburg is holding a raffle every Saturday to support Care Camps. Tickets are sold for $5 each or five for $20 and prizes include items such a board game, mini golf tickets, a firewood bundle and s’mores kits. The staff takes just a few hours each Saturday to visit each site and tell visitors about the raffle, but more importantly about Care Camps. 

“Everyone knows someone who has been effected by cancer,” says Lorelle Bergeron, owner of Gettysburg/Battlefield KOA. “A campground is not going to raise money by having a bucket at the front desk. You have to create a culture of caring.”

“Everyone knows someone who has been effected by cancer,” says Lorelle Bergeron, owner of Gettysburg/Battlefield KOA. “A campground is not going to raise money by having a bucket at the front desk. You have to create a culture of caring.” And building a culture of caring is exactly what Lorelle and her team has done. 

The Gettysburg/Battlefield KOA staff have consistently raised an average of $500 every Saturday from the raffle. The only portion of the proceeds kept by the campground is the cost of supplies, which sometimes can be as little as $2.50 for a bag of ice.

Teen staff members were challenged to raise $400 for the raffle and surpassed by raising $550 in one day Courtesy Photo
With many campers not traveling with cash in their pockets, the Gettysburg team has gotten creative with finding a solution. By taking an iPad or tablet around the campsite, visitors can charge their raffle ticket directly to their card through the KOA reservation system, which at times can inspire additional donations as well.

They’ve even saved money and time by eliminating physical tickets and instead, Jen keeps a one-page sheet to track each ticket and correlating site number. 

“It really is that easy,” says Lorelle. “It starts with educating your staff. The more you talk about it, the more people want to get involved.”

“We are so proud of the Gettysburg team for all of their efforts to keep these Care Camps fundraisers alive,” said Jennifer Mercer, Care Camps Development Director. “They are a shining star in what has been a devastating year for our camps. We could not help these kids if it wasn’t for the efforts of dedicated KOA teams like them.”

For more fundraising ideas as well as posters, videos and everything else needed to do a Care Camps Fundraiser, visit https://carecamps.org/fun-raising-toolkits

This blog was generously sponsored by our friends at AGS.