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, held in late July, early 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 clinic. 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. 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.
From July 29, 2018 – August 3, 2018, 19 of the greatest kids around, who just so happen to have kidney disease, could be found at Ligonier Methodist Camp Ground in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, better known as the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
Camping is all about getting to do fun things and our campers had plenty of activities to conquer. Their first event began on Sunday with a simple meet and greet that included swimming. Monday found the campers engaging in trust games, a ropes course, horseback riding, a hayride and roasting s’mores. Tuesday had them flying through the air like super heroes on the zip line then enjoying an evening talent show. And, if that was not exciting enough, the Western PA National Kidney Foundation sponsored a carnival to round out the evening. The campers enjoyed an amazing night made possible by the Western PA National Kidney Foundation and volunteers from DCI Hempfield and DCI Mt. Pleasant. Wednesday was all about Idlewild Park with exciting rides and challenges for campers and counselors. Thursday, our last day of camp, sped by at the lake with jet skiing, tubing, and laser tag before heading back to camp and preparing for the evening dance with Juke Box Johnny.
At the end of the dance, two camp graduates were honored: Alexis Waltz and Gabriel Reddrick.
As we reflect back on the 2018 PA Kidney Kamp, we recall the “Happiest Place on Earth,” and remember a few key lessons:
The life lessons shared at camp were made possible by the wonderful volunteers and organizations who gave of their time and energy. Mary Jo Grosso (pictured with the kids on the right) is a nephrology nurse and the winner of the 2018 Special Friends of Kamp Award. Our second Special Friends Award was presented to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for the support they provide in recommending kids to the camp and providing support to ensure safe care during the week.
We warmly thank our sponsors: DCI Hempfield, DCI Monroeville, ANNA – Three Rivers, Pittsburgh Division, BK Electric, Presidential Cleaning, KJ Construction, and CNSW of Western PA. Many individuals volunteer at PA Kidney Kamp, year after year. They are our “regulars.” We are so thankful that our kids can count on you. There wouldn’t be a camp without you.
We look forward to seeing our campers and volunteers next year.
Submitted by: Glenda Barnett-Streicher Western PA Kidney Kamp Nurse
Please contact Allison at 724-339-1772 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or information regarding WPAKK. Once contacted, an application will be sent to you.
The kamp lasts five nights, starting Sunday afternoon with registration, and concluding Friday morning after breakfast.
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 all meals, housing, 24-hour supervision, a kamp t-shirt, and a full week of fun.
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.
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.
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.
In the event your child can not attend kamp, please let us know as soon as possible, to avoid unnecessary costs.
You are responsible for transporting your child directly to and from the Ligonier Camp and Conference Center located at 188 Macartney Lane, Ligonier, PA 15658. Arrival directly to kamp on Sunday at 3 PM, and departure is Friday at 10:30 AM.
If a child must fly into Pittsburgh, or the local Latrobe airport, please contact Allison at 724-339-1772. 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.
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
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.
No, towels and bedding are provided, however many are more comfortable with their own blanket and pillow, towel, or sleeping bag.
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.
For more information, please contact:
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 $500 (excluding travel expense). No child is charged for their Kamp week, but any donations are welcome.
To make a donation to the WPAKK, please contact the Kamp Director at the number below:
2534 Monroeville Blvd.
Monroeville, PA 15146
If your child is between the ages of 8-16, 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