Summer Camps for Children with Severe Chronic Health Conditions

When a child has a severe chronic health condition such as epilepsy, Asperger’s syndrome, Tourette syndrome, neurofibromatosis, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, congenital heart disease, heart conditions that require pacemakers, ICDs or transplants, Down syndrome, hemiplegia and childhood obesity, it can make it very difficult to find a summer camp where they can feel like they are part of the community. No child should miss out on this important childhood rite of passage, no matter what health issues they have. In order to facilitate a safe and healthy camp environment, the Brainy Camps Association was formed as a subsidiary of Children’s National Medical Center.

Brainy Camps Association is a non-profit organization that provides residential summer camps, family retreats, leadership training and transitional youth programs for children with severe chronic health conditions. We began our mission in 1994 with a camp for children with epilepsy.”

Not only does the camp offer an opportunity for children with chronic health conditions to interact, but they are also located close to the Washington, D. C. area. The campsite is located in Harrisonburg, VA, at the Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center, just a few minutes from the Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Physicians and nurses specializing in the chronic conditions of the campers are on-site 24/7.  Transportation is also offered from the Washington, DC area, making it easier for local campers to attend. But you don’t have to live in the D.C. area to camp there. Campers nationwide are welcome to attend the camps.

In order to maintain a healthy and safe environment, the week-long overnight camps are held at different times for groups with different chronic conditions. The camp offers the campers a safe, fun experience where they can meet other children with similar conditions, often for the first time in their lives.  Not only do the children have the opportunity to swim, dance and play, they also gain knowledge about their medical conditions from experts in the field and learn to be independent, self-reliant, and effective partners with their medical providers in the administration of their health.

Brainy Campers can participate in numerous activities including swimming, fishing, boating, archery, arts & crafts, pottery, team sports, challenge course and camp Olympics.  Support groups and educational programs are offered at camp that promotes awareness, skill development and relational networks.   During their week at camp, campers have an opportunity to acquire a sense of who they are, what they have to offer and where they want to go in the future, regardless of their medical conditions.

Brainy Camps offer a great opportunity for children with severe chronic health conditions to experience this important part of growing up. No one should miss out on the fun and community spirit of summer camp, no matter what health issues they have. Brainy Camps offer a solution for campers with issues to become a part of summer camp fun.

Author Byline:

Ken Myers the editor in chief is a frequent contributor of Ken helps acquiring knowledge on the duties & responsibilities of nannies to society. You can reach him at



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