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Kids & Teens

While undergoing treatment, many patients and families are restricted on what activities they can do. That’s why the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson provides opportunities for kids to be kids. Through camps, field trips and special events, we try to bring a sense of normalcy back to our patients and their families.

Camp A.O.K. (Anderson’s Older Kids)

Camp A.O.K. is an overnight, week-long camp for more than 50 adolescent patients and their siblings, ages 13 to 18 years. It is held at the Fred A. Lennon Youth Camp in Magnolia, Texas and positively impacts our adolescent patients, their siblings and parents. Patients gain independence and interact with other teens in an accepting environment. The presence of MD Anderson’s medical staff gives parents the confidence to allow their teen to leave home for a week of camp in a safe environment.

Camp activities include horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, tennis, swimming, archery, team sports, arts and crafts, cooking, dancing and more. Each night is full of activities as well including bowling, Casino Night, game and skit night, and the camp-week closer, Prom Night. Prom dresses and tuxes are provided and altered to fit each camper while hair stylists cut and style each camper’s hair before the formal dinner and dance. It’s a memorable week for everyone!

Camp A.O.K. is free to its campers through funding from the Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson and the Children’s Art Project.

Camp Star Trails

For younger patients and siblings ages 5 to 12, the Children’s Cancer Hospital offers Camp Star Trails. More than 150 kids come each summer for this week-long adventure at Camp For All’s campsite in Burton, Texas.

Campers can build their skills in archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, kayaking, cooking, creative arts, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, team sports and swimming. They will also have the opportunity to visit the small animal farm and tackle the challenge course. Nighttime festivities may include carnival games, bingo night, movie night, sports night and a dance party with songs for the whole group to dance to.

Patients and siblings can attend Camp Star Trails for free thanks to funds from the Children’s Art Project and the Children’s Cancer Hospital. Physicians and pediatric oncology nurses are on-site at all times to handle any medical needs.

Rehabilitation Ski Trip

Every year, patients, family members, physicians and nurses from the Children’s Cancer Hospital travel to Utah for the Rehabilitation Ski Trip. The first annual ski trip was in 1982 and provided a fun adventure for amputee patients to learn how to ski with physical challenges. Now, the trip is open to amputees and other physically challenged individuals and encourages patients to develop a positive self-image while realizing how unlimited their lives can be in spite of physical handicaps.

Aside from mastering the slopes, participants and their families enjoy other fun activities such as swimming, dancing, snowmobiling, and, of course…snowball fights. All of these endeavors promote the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of the patients.

Funding for the trip is provided through the Children’s Art Project.

Annual Education Trip

When the school year comes to an end each spring, patients from the Children’s Cancer Hospital pack their bags and head to San Antonio and other Texas cities for a three-day adventure that is both fun and educational.

As the patients visit various Texas cities, they tour through educational venues such as the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin, the state capitol, the Alamo and Sea World. Each night, patients wrap up the day with a swimming and ice cream party with arts and crafts projects. The trip is funded through the Children's Art Project.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center