On Sept. 1-4, members of the young adult (YA) cancer community will gather at Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer in western Pennsylvania at the inaugural Young Adult Cancer Camp, co-hosted by Elephants and Tea and Young Adult Survivors United.
The long weekend sleepaway-style camp is open to individuals at any stage of cancer treatment or survivorship who were diagnosed between ages 18 and 39, as well as their adult co-survivors and caregivers. The cost of registration for Young Adult Cancer Camp is $150 per person, which includes lodging, linens, meals and snacks, activities and camp swag. Camp attendance will be limited to 200 campers.
The primary goals of Young Adult Cancer Camp are to “unite the community in person” and help young adults connect with others who understand the YA cancer experience, explains Stephanie Scoletti, executive director and founder of Young Adult Survivors United. The weekend’s events will include many summer camp favorites, she says, including canoeing, archery, ziplining, art activities, writing workshops and campfires.
While the action-packed schedule is sure to please the thrill-seeking crowd, camp attendees will have full flexibility to choose their own activities and enjoy plenty of relaxation and downtime.
“We want to make sure everybody can come and enjoy camp, so there’s a combination of physical and non-physical activities and tons of variety for people to choose from,” says Nick Giallourakis, executive director of Steven G. Cancer Foundation and Elephants and Tea.
Campers will sleep in multi-bunk lodges, providing even more opportunities to connect and socialize. Scoletti adds that camp organizers have ensured that accommodations and activities are ADA-compliant and accessible to all. Additionally, Young Adult Cancer Camp will include a staffed medical center and will enforce COVID-19 safety measures including vaccine and booster requirements plus on-site testing.
Regarding the origins of Young Adult Cancer Camp, Giallourakis explains that Elephants and Tea and Young Adult Survivors United have been in touch over the last few years through their work serving the cancer community, mostly in virtual settings. Coming together to collaborate on Young Adult Cancer Camp is “a cool opportunity to bring the YA community together in a new way,” he says.
And if you’re interested in attending but feeling a little shy, there’s no need to worry. People in the YA cancer community “are some of the most welcoming human beings out there,” Giallourakis says. “They will help look after folks.”
Scoletti adds that the aim is for campers to “walk away from camp with new friendships with people who know what [they’re] going through.” She adds that this kind of program can be a life-changing experience for those in the YA cancer community.
Pack your camp essentials—don’t forget a reusable water bottle, flashlight and comfy clothes—and get ready for camp! Registration is open now at www.elephantsandtea.com/young-adult-cancer-camp-2022.
Elephants and Tea’s mission is to help adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients, survivors and caregivers know they are not alone in their fight with cancer. The Elephant in the room is cancer. Tea is the relief that conversation provides. Elephants and Tea is the nonprofit media brand and a dba of the Steven G. Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit www.elephantsandtea.com.
YASU has the largest community in Western Pa. for young adult cancer survivors and their co-survivors (with virtual programming outreached on a national level), providing them the ability to cope and thrive from emotional, social and financial support under professional guidance and with peers who understand and can relate. For more information, visit www.yasurvivors.org.