Kids living with cancer have a chance to experience a whole new form of summer camp this year.

Due to COVID-19, Camp Oochigeas and Trillium have decided to do things a little differently and provide a virtual summer camp that will meet with kids with cancer wherever they are.

The camp is interactive, accessible and engaging and helps campers build independence and maximize their ability to move, think and interact with peers.

In an interview with MyMuskokaNow, CEO of Camp Ooch Alex Robertson says when a child is diagnosed with cancer, they don’t get as many opportunities to make their own choices and decisions.

“They’re told when they’re going to receive their medicine, told when they’re going to be able to go to school. Kids with cancer spend more time in quarantine than we could ever imagine. So, our goal with the virtual summer camp is to give kids a chance to connect, make friends and to have a lot of fun.”

This year, campers will receive a Camp-in-a-Box Kit – which will include supplies tailored to the specific interests of each individual camper.

Robertson notes they simply want to provide kids living with cancer an opportunity to enjoy being kids.

“They miss out on the opportunities of doing after-school sports or taking part in arts programs. That’s where camp comes in. We knew we needed to provide a summer camp experience so that kids could have the same ‘cabin-time’ experience that children who are well are going to get. Those kids will get a chance to connect with their friends this summer – but kids who are sick don’t.

Robertson notes that customized camp experiences will minimize the need for parental involvement, and meet families’ needs with small group, large group, or Special Friend virtual pairings.

He also says that through the virtual camps, campers still create camp memories, engage in activities with friends and familiar volunteers, develop skills and discover a new level of self-confidence.

“We’re the only camp in Canada that can provide onsite, intravenous chemotherapy and blood transfusions. We’re a camp that caters to children who really are critically ill. We wanted to maintain our programs, keep it safe by doing it virtually so that we don’t lose that kind of connectivity kids really need in order to develop in a healthy way.”

To register your child for the virtual summer camp, head to Camp Ooch’s website.