In 2015 Dr. Thomas Chin of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the Children's Heart Group, and Ellie's Heart Foundation began discussions on starting a summer camp program for children with heart conditions. Camp Lionheart was born. The first annual camp occurred on July 31, 2016 through August 5, 2016 at Camp Kirchenwald, Colebrook PA.
Camp Lionheart is a summer camp to be held annually for children 12 to 18 years of age with heart disease. Boys and girls with repaired congenital heart defects or cardiomyopathies have an opportunity to learn about their hearts and their physical abilities in the company of other children with heart disease. The next camp will be held at Camp Kirchenwald, located near Colebrook PA (about 10 miles southeast of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital), on July 30-August 4, 2023
Educational sessions on the structure of the heart, heart rhythm problems, the importance of taking medications, “hands only” CPR, and living a healthy life-style, will be part of the schedule in additional to traditional summer camp activities such as swimming, kickball, archery, hiking, kayaking, pottery, and campfires/cookouts. The camp will be staffed continuously with camp counselors and medical personnel—comprised of volunteer physicians, physician assistants, nurses and medical personnel from the Penn State Hershey Children’s Heart Group. Administration of medications will be supervised. The camp is provided free of charge to the campers.
Enrollment for the camp will be limited to 20-25 boys and girls, with approval from their parents/guardians and upon recommendation of their cardiologist. Campers will be selected preferentially from central Pennsylvania. Housing will be in modern facilities (4 campers per room, private bathroom for each room). All meals will be provided, but campers need to bring their own bed sheets and pillows/sleeping bags. Campers will be required to provide proof of insurance, and to provide their own medications. Parents/guardians will be required to sign a waiver.
The camp is funded by generous donations from Penn State Hershey Department of Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Children’s Heart Group, Ellie’s Heart Foundation, and others.
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