Western PA Kidney Kamp

Western PA Kidney Kamp is a not for profit summer kamp experience for children in various stages of kidney disease. It was established by the National Kidney Foundation, and has been in existence since 1994. It was taken over then by DCI, after funding through the NKF was no longer available.

 

The Kamp is located on the 600+ acres of Ligonier Camp and Conference Center, outside historical Ligonier, PA 15658.

 

WPAKK is a week-long kamp, usually held the first full week of August. (Please check with contact person for dates each year). It runs Sunday afternoon to Friday morning, with a jammed schedule of activities and experiences for kids 8-16, or until graduation from High School.

 

Everything is provided to the kampers including food, lodging, on-site medical care, assist with peritoneal dialysis (supplies provided by kamper), Hemodialysis transport to local DCI Mt. Pleasant. Special consideration is taken for renal kids with all disabilities to enjoy the Kamp experience.

 

WPAKK allows for kids in all different stages of their kidney disease: initial failure, dialysis, & transplant. It allows them to be with others of like mind and body, and to have a great week at kamp.

 

Just some of our kamp activities during the week include a ropes challenge course, horseback riding, swimming, lake time including jet skiing / rafting rides, and  dance party with DJ Johnny – who has been with us for over 10 years. Also included is a day at the local theme park – Idlewild and Soakzone.

 

Kampers are expected to participate in activities as much as possible. The activities are geared to be fun and promote independence and growth on the part of the individual kamper. This helps the kamper develop a trusting relationship in a new environment, explore their full potential, and learn about themselves.

 

 


 

 

PA Kidney Kamp 2015 “Where everyone’s a Hero”

 

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From Marvel characters such as Thor or Captain America to the most commonly known Batman and Superman, society today acknowledges superheroes for saving the day, for conquering tough obstacles, and for making life better for each person they come into contact with.

 

At PA Kidney Kamp, all of our campers are superheroes. Each camper has overcome remarkable challenges, and still manages to spread joy to each and every person they encounter.

 

At Hero Kamp, challenges begin with general rules and regulations, because even heroes have conditions that must be followed. Superman has to stay away from kryptonite, and if Spiderman couldn’t make a web, how would he function?  Likewise, each hero at Hero Kamp has to know their expectations and limitations. Rooms are assigned, new team members are introduced and old members come together to share their experiences since last seen.

 

Day 1: What better place to start the week than at the pool? The sun, the fun, and the kids showing super abilities in manipulating the water, it was a blast! If kids didn’t want to swim, games of checkers were set up around the pool for an intense and engaging competition. That evening, campers were split into teams to make preparation for the coming events–our Superheroes needed to know who their allies were for the week.

 

Day 2: Everyone awakened to the challenge of initiative games. The campers started as a unified group, because even heroes have to work together and develop trust. Soon after, they broke into smaller groups. Even a summer storm couldn’t keep our heroes from having a blast!

 

One activity everyone wanted to participate in was inside wall climbing. Do you have the strength to get to the top?

 

IMG_2093Day 3: Tuesday brought the sunshine back and many outdoor activities. We saw that superheroes can accomplish many feats. Do you think you could shoot an arrow and then split that arrow with a second shot? We had a hero who did. 

 

Hanging from trees instead of webs – zip lining is always a big event for these kids. First you have to get there – take off – and land.

 

Day 4: Wednesday is traditional Idlewild Park day. Who doesn’t enjoy a day in the park with rides and games, cotton candy and hotdogs? On top of that, we mustn’t forget the trip to the water park with swimming, buckets of water, and spider rides.

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Afterwards, our heroes had a relaxing evening complete with corn roast and mountain pies, with much anticipation building for the competitive Derby Car Race that night. The race, which is always a bonding event, is made possible thanks to the local BoyScout troop who, each year, bring in a track with computerized judging.

 

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Day 5: Our heroes took a trip to the lake for Jet Ski riding, tubing and swimming. Heroes who weren’t on the waterfront mastered their skills in the laser-tag zones and feasted on grilled hamburgers.

 

That night, our heroes got dressed up for the closing dance. What better way to end the week than dancing and good times with your new friends? Our heroes discussed challenges accomplished, new relationships formed and their plans to reunite next year. Special thanks to JukeBox Johnny for making it another great year on the dance floor!

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Day 6: After a fulfilling week of sports and competition, each camper packed up their belongings, along with medals and ribbons, and headed back to their respective homes.  Already planning the return next year, our superheroes pledged to never forget the friendships formed and the experience shared together.

 

As always this week could not have been the success it was if not for our sponsors and volunteers. Our sponsors: DCI corporate and local clinics, KJ Johnston, LTD., BK Electric, Presidential Cleaning, local Western PA Chapter Council of Social Workers, the local Three Rivers ANNA chapter and the families who support and provide for the Thursday evening dance party.

 

Also, a special thank you to all of our behind-the-scenes staff:

  • To the DCI Mt. Pleasant clinic that is always there should we have dialysis needs.
  • To our core staff, Allison – application processor and just all around go to person, Robbie, Chris, Heather, Mike and Jaimee, who are there to do whatever is needed to make this work.
  • To Jill Kratochvil, who is transitioning to Kamp Director. Jill says “I started out one day at camp and soon asked to become more involved. No matter how much work or time is needed Kamp is my HEART. It’s about making the kids feel excepted, loved and understood.”
  • To Bob, who received a Lifetime Friends award for his years of service to the Kamp and his ongoing support. You will always be in the hearts of the kids and those who work alongside him.
  • To Chris Craft who was awarded the 2015 Special Friends of Western PA Kamp we say congratulations and now the real work begins.
  • To everyone who made it possible to have a successful camp experience, we thank you!

 

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Submitted by: Glenda Barnett-Streicher Western PA Kidney Kamp Nurse

  1. How to I register for Kidney Kamp?

Please contact Allison at 412-823-6041 or allison.discello@dciinc.org for any questions or information regarding WPAKK. Once contacted, an application will be sent to you.

 

  1. How long does Western PA Kidney Kamp last?

The kamp lasts five nights, starting Sunday afternoon with registration, and concluding Friday morning after breakfast. Kamp is usually the first full week in August.

 

  1. Is there a cost and what does the cost include?

There is no cost for a child to attend WPAKK. A donation by parents to cover the cost of kamp is accepted, but not required. The donation would cover 3 meals a day, housing, 24-hour supervision, a kamp t-shirt, and a full week of fun.

 

  1. Where will my child sleep?

Your child will be housed on campus in a dormitory type setting, which includes bunk beds. Males and females are housed on separate wings, but same floor of the lodge. Each room holds 4-6 people. While counselors are not in each room, there are counselors assigned to each of the two wings that they children stay in. All events are staffed during the day and night. 

 

  1. Can I visit my child at Kamp?

We invite parents to bring their child to kamp as well as pick them up if they live nearby the Ligonier area. Otherwise, parents are highly discouraged from visiting during the week of kamp.

 

  1. Who is responsible for my child while at Kamp?

Most kamp counselors are trained medical professionals. We require a counselor application from each counselor as well as a list of references, child line clearances and criminal background checks. Activities at the kamp are supervised by the employees of the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center who are specifically trained and certified as well.

 

  1. What are the important Phone Numbers at Kamp that I need to know?
  • DCI Kamp Contact (Allison) – 412-823-6041
  • Kamp Director (Jill) – 412-897-0653
  • Kamp Nurse (Glenda) – 615-828-3864
  • Ligonier Camp and Conference Center – 724-238-6428

 

  1. What if I need to cancel my reservation?

In the event your child can not attend kamp, please let us know as soon as possible. We may have children on the waiting list to attend kamp and would fill openings available due to cancellations.

 

  1. How do I get to Kamp?

Transportation is provided from the New Kensington DCI located at 722 Fourth Ave, New Kensington, PA 15068. Phone 724-339-1772. The bus leaves the clinic at approximately 12:30 PM on Sunday, and the kids are returned to the same location of Friday at approximately 11:00 AM. 

 

OR

 

You are also welcome to transport your child directly to and from the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center located at 188 Macartney Lane, Ligonier, PA 15658. Arrival directly to kamp is Sunday at 3 PM, and departure is Friday at 10:30 AM.

 

  1. What if my child needs to fly?

If a child must fly into Pittsburgh, or the local Latrobe airport, please contact Allison at 412-823-6041. She can help to arrange transportation from either airport. It is possible that the kamp nurse who flies into Pittsburgh will coordinate flight times so she is available to meet your child and transport them to kamp.

 

  1. Should kampers bring money?

This is a personal matter. Kampers will visit Idlewild and Soakzone amusement park. In this case, we think spending money for snacks and souvenirs is needed, but not required. This is usually left up to the parent and child. Money will be supplied by WPAKK for lunch.

Click here to download the Kamp Packing List

 

  1. What is the weather like?

During this time of year, the weather can be sometimes unpredictable. We suggest that your child bring comfortable clothing and at least one sweatshirt or jacket, as it might get cold during the evening activities. Bathing suits are needed for children who choose to swim. Otherwise recreational clothing and a good pair of walking shoes are required. For more information on the weather, check out The Weather Channel website for Ligonier PA, 15658.

 

  1. Does my child need to bring bedding and towels?

No, towels and bedding are provided, however many are more comfortable with their own blanket and pillow, towel, or sleeping bag.

 

  1. What do I pack?

Click Here to Download the Kamper Packing Checklist

 

  1. What kinds of meals are served?

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided in the common dining area from the afternoon of arrival through Friday morning breakfast. At each meal, we offer a variety of foods to appeal to different preferences. Snacks and water are also available at various times and sites within the campground every day. Please do not send food to kamp with your child. Meals are planned with input from a renal dietitian to ensure that dietary requirements are met for all children. If you child requires a special diet, please contact the Kamp Director.

 

 

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Allison Discello

412-823-6041

allison.discello@dciinc.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS

 

Western PA Kidney Kamp relies on voluntary donations to provide our programs free of charge.

 

The approximate cost for one child to attend WPAKK is $250 (excluding travel expense). While some children may be able to afford this, others may not. We welcome any donation that will help a child attend camp.

 

To make a donation to the WPAKK, please contact the Kamp Director at the number below:

 

Jill Kratochvil

4445 Old William Penn Highway

Monroeville, PA 15146

412-372-3455
e-mail: jill.kratochvil@dciinc.org

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

If you child is between the ages of 8-16 (or still in high school), and is in initial renal failure, on dialysis, or has had a kidney transplant, please contact Allison for more information about Western PA Kidney Kamp. She will supply you with an application and/or answer any questions you may have.

 

Allison Discello – Kamp Contact

allison.discello@dciinc.org

412-823-6041