Camp Horizon, held annually at Bethany Hills Campground in Kingston Springs, TN., has helped children who are fighting cancer enjoy their summers since 1983. While the camp was originally designed to serve the needs of current and former cancer patients, Camp Horizon expanded in 1997 to offer camp for cancer patient’s siblings as well. This summer, Camp Horizon welcomes over 80 children at the Oncology camp, taking place from June 17-22. The children range in age from 6 to 17 and were diagnosed with cancer or received cancer treatment within the last five years.
One of the most attractive aspects of Camp Horizon for parents is the medical staff present throughout the week. Not only are many of the counselors doctors and nurses, but “Club Med” is open 24/7 on the campground and is full of Vanderbilt oncologists and doctors. Parents feel at ease with the immense number of staff highly capable of attending to their child’s needs. Another attraction is SIBS (Special and Important Brothers and Sisters). SIBS camp takes place the following week and is a chance for the siblings of current or former cancer patients to get the attention they need. Both camps participate in the exact same activities, which gives siblings a chance to compare their experiences when they get back home.
Camp Horizon allows children who are faced with cancer to take a break from their worries and participate in normal summertime activities including canoeing, fishing, swimming, hiking, basketball, dodge ball and field games. Not only do these children get to experience a week of fun activities away from the stress of cancer, but they get to interact with other children and counselors whom they can relate to due to their unique challenges. Children return year after year to see their friends and enjoy the safe but fun environment Camp Horizon provides.
Camp Horizon attracts families from all over the country; however, most children come from Tennessee and neighboring states. The high energy atmosphere created allows these kids to be kids and forget their troubles. Children attend camp for free thanks to the support of American Cancer Society sponsors, such as the Nashville Wine Auction. l’Eté du Vin continues its efforts by producing exciting wine events to fund cancer and make places like Camp Horizon possible.