Our Affiliate System

We are building one organization with affiliates in two regions. Our parent company, now known as Prisma Health, supports both affiliates with overall direction and leadership as we continue to align. We will soon share one brand across the entire organization to better reflect this. The rebranded Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group will continue to operate as a joint venture between the Midlands affiliate and the USC School of Medicine.

Learn more
We are becoming Prisma Health in early 2019
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Camp Courage

Founded in 1994, Camp Courage creates an unforgettable recreational and educational experience for children, teens, young adults, and families living with cancer or a blood disorder being treated at the BI-LO Charities Children’s Cancer Center.

Mission

Camp Courage provides psychosocial support in the form of recreational and educational programs for children, adolescents, and young adults living with cancer or a blood disorder, which allows them to share similar experiences with peers while participating in activities that promote normal development and encourages age appropriate coping with the challenges they face.

Objectives

To support the psychosocial well-being of our children, teens, young adults living with cancer and blood disorders and their families by providing opportunities for:

  • Education about diagnoses treatments, and late effects.
  • Peer Support and friendship from those that truly understand what they are going through medically safe activities that support normal growth and development at all ages.
  • Increased control and independence when it seems it has all been taken away.
  • Teamwork and group interaction that builds working relationships and corporation.
  • Gaining self-esteem and confidence through goal setting and mastery.
  • Coping during times of crisis, relapse, or death of a friend, sibling, or child.
  • Camp Courage believes that all children, adolescents, and young adults require the same social, emotional, and physical opportunities for development regardless of their diagnosis.
  • Camp Courage’s summer program as well as year round events help to promote growth and independence through offering peer support, a least restrictive environment, teamwork, and individual choices.

Camp Programs Offered

  • Week long summer camp for adolescents.
  • Week long summer camp for children ages 5 up to age 12.
  • Weekend camp for siblings ages 7-17.
  • Fall Carnival for patients and families.
  • Leaders-In-Training for adolescent campers and community members who are interested in becoming Camp Courage counselors.
  • Counselor Training for eligible campers and community members ages 20 and older.
  • Evening and weekend educational and therapeutic retreats for families, children, teenagers and young adults.
  • Local outing for children, teens, young adults, and families.
  • Monthly support groups for children, teens, young adults and parents.

Camper Activities

  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Archery
  • Arts/Crafts
  • Drama
  • Bobcat Rides
  • Climbing Tower
  • Canopy Tower
  • Team Challenge Course
  • Kayaking
  • Nature Hikes
  • Sports

Special Activities

  • Dances
  • Entertainment and Shows
  • Shag Lessons
  • Massage Therapy
  • Therapeutic Art Projects
  • Karaoke
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides
  • Photography
  • Karate
  • Horseback Riding
  • Sewing
  • Beauty Shop

Sending Your Child to Camp For the First Time

We at the BI-LO Charities Children’s Cancer Center understand that sending your child off to camp is exciting, nerve wrecking, and sometimes sad. However, sending a child living with cancer or a blood disorder off to camp for the first time can be extremely scary.

So, we want you to know that we understand your fear, anxiety, and concerns. However, we take having your child with us at camp as a privilege and a responsibility that we consider very serious.

Camp Courage has full-time counselors in every cabin, and we keep the counselor to camper ratio to no more than 1 counselor per two campers depending on the age of the campers. All counselors have undergone background screenings, health screenings, and training on how to help our campers with being at camp.

Cabins at Camp Courage are divided by gender and age, so you can rest assure that your child is with peers his/her same age or peers within no more than two years of his/her age.

Camp Courage is staffed by a full-time physician, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse that are there to take care of any and all medical needs while your child is at camp. This means, our medical staff handles anything as small as a cut all the way up to a fever. No medical issues are ever treated by a counselor or volunteer at camp.

Our medical team is all staff members that already know and treat your child while they are at home. Every medical staff member at camp works or has worked at the BI-LO Charities Children’s Cancer Center either inpatient in the hospital or outpatient in the cancer treatment center. So, they are already the physicians, nurse practitioner, and nurses that you know and your child know.

Communication with campers by parents is limited while at camp, for several reasons:

  • We want campers to have a sense of independence and control at camp
  • We want campers to build confidence and prepare them for the future
  • Because we know from past experience that hearing mommy’s or daddy’s voice can sometimes cause more anxiety and homesickness than if they simply had the week to spend with peers and counselors.
  • Sometimes hearing mommy or daddy’s voice is what a camper needs to feel safe and be able to remain at camp. If a compromise is made with your child to be able to call home, please keep an open mind and do not rush out to pick them up. We will guide you and talk with you regarding any issues before they call.

Communication by phone, text, email, blog, and Facebook are provided for families throughout the week through the camp director. If you have any issue or simply need an update on your child, there are many different ways to talk with staff, which will be provided at drop off.

What to Bring to Camp

Camp is a very busy place, and we spend a lot of time outside. Please know that bringing your best/new clothes or shoes, or irreplaceable favorite items is NOT a good idea.

Please make sure to label your child’s luggage with their name or luggage tag. Also, for young campers, please make sure to label their clothes, yes even underwear, with their First, Middle, and Last initials.

During the day of pick-up, we will have a LOST and FOUND table that you should take a look at before leaving to make sure that your child did not leave anything behind. All items left at camp are thrown away after all campers and counselors have left the facility.

Cell Phones are not permitted at camp and will be taken at drop off. If children or teens bring cell phones, they will be required to label and turn them in at registration. They will be permitted to use them only at assigned times. However, we do reserve the right to refuse the use of cell phones if it becomes an issue with homesickness or is disruptive to the camper. Campers should not call parents without permission of the camp staff.

Electronic items are also not permitted at camp. This includes, but are not limited to, iPods, hand held video game systems, iPads, and other electronic items. We request this because the setting of camp is interactive and social, and we do not want anything to happen to these expensive items. We also request that all toys remain at home as well. We will have plenty of items to keep all campers busy and entertained.

Please remember, we are not responsible if any items are lost or stolen.

Talking With Your Child About Camp

Talk with your child about the activities at camp—all the things they are going to be able to do and try. Camp Courage is not a place where they will be forced to do anything. It is a challenge by choice camp, so we encourage, but we never force.

Talk to your camper about being part of camp, which means a really big family. We view our camp as our home and everyone in it as family. So, we take care of our home by cleaning up, picking up after each other at times, and respecting the camp and the people in it.

Making friends and meeting new people is a big part of camp. One of Camp Courage’s goals for our campers is to meet new peers that they can relate to. However, we also know that not every child relates to each other. So, it is ok if your child does not make 20 new friends, but maybe one or two. It is also ok if they are not everyone else’s friends. We only ask that campers listen to one another and respect one another.

Camp Courage has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for bullying or harassment. We want campers to let their counselors or camp director know if someone is being negative and affecting them in a negative way. We will take immediate action to make sure it does not continue. However, if it does continue after action is taken, the camper will be removed from camp by his/her parents.

Help them focus on all the fun and excitement of camp. Also help them identify all the wonderful traits that they will be bringing with them to camp. For example, how compassionate they are, how much they like to help, or how loyal of a friend they can be.

Talk with your camper about being homesick, because it is normal! Most campers miss something about home; parents, home cooking, a pet, or just the comfort of their bed. All of these feelings are normal.

Here are some strategies that you can do before camp to help with homesickness!

      • Practice time being away form home before camp
      • Be positive with your child, and don’t let them see your anxiety
      • NEVER make a pick-up deal

If you get a call about your child being homesick, please don’t panic! You may hear tears and begging, but they really are ok.

However, if their homesickness is too overwhelming or disruptive to other campers, we will ask you to come get them. We NEVER, EVER want camp to be a place they never want to return to. They can always go home and come back the next day, or return the next year with more knowledge under their belt.

If your child has any issues that they are uncomfortable with or nervous about, please tell us. We can take care of many issues that children often get embarrassed about that are out of their control, without anyone ever knowing. However, we do rely on parents to communicate such issues.

Do’s and Don’ts when talking with a homesick child

  • DO remind them of all the positive and fun things they have to look forward to
  • DON’T remind them of all the things they are missing or people that miss them.
  • DO ask them to tell you about things they have already done and what their favorite thing has been,
  • DON’T tell them about all the things you have been doing without them
  • DO be positive about how much they have accomplished and the time they have made it at camp.
  • DON’T express too that you miss them, but you love them
  • DO make a contract to stay, and something they will be able to do after camp
  • DON’T make a pick-up deal

REMEMBER: Your child will gain so much from overcoming their homesickness.

For Younger Campers

If your child is between the ages of 5-7, here are a few things that can help them when going to camp.

  • Practice taking a shower before coming to camp.
  • Send a blanket, stuffed animal, parents’ favorite t-shirt, or nightlight
  • Talk with them about camp and practice being away from home
  • Let staff know traditional nighttime routines

Volunteering

There are many ways to volunteer at Camp Courage:

  • Come stay the week as a cabin counselor.
  • Apply and become a LIT (Leader in Training)
  • Donate your time and talent by coming out and leading an activity for the day.
  • Train with us to run a specific activity like the ropes tower or archery range.
  • Come for a few hours and help with an evening program.

Camp Courage has been extremely blessed with wonderful volunteers for our cabin counselors and program volunteers from our community. Our camp would not be as successful and therapeutic for our patients without the help and talent that we receive from our community.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or giving your time and talent at Camp Courage, please read the following requirements. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Lyndsey at (864) 455-8741 or e-mail LHoffman@ghs.org.

All applications for campers, counselors, and leaders in training will be online and will be available in April. Please check back to apply!

Mixed racial group of kids posing happily above the camera and smiling playfully

Cabin Counselor Volunteer Requirements for Camp Courage

  • Must be 20 years old and no longer attending high school
  • Must complete the volunteer application and health screening by application deadline May 1st
  • Must participate in an interview by camp director or past camp volunteer
  • Must participate in a mandatory training the weekend before camp
  • Must remain at camp for the full duration of the camp session
  • Must abide by all camp safety and conduct guidelines, including personal boundaries and social networking

Leaders-In-Training (L.I.T.) Requirements for Camp Courage (Main Camp ONLY)

  • Must be 16 years old
  • Must complete the volunteer application and health screening by application deadline of May 1st
  • Must participate in an interview by camp director or past camp volunteer
  • Must participate in a mandatory training the weekend before camp
  • Must remain at camp for the full duration of the camp session
  • Must abide by all camp safety and conduct guidelines, including personal boundaries and social networking

Other Ways to Get Involved

Donate

Camp Courage is dependent on community donations and grants. Without donations, we would not be able to provide this free medically safe camping experience for our patients.

If you would like to donate to Camp Courage, please visit our Office of Philanthropy and Partnership.

You can also donate to Camp Courage through the Virtual Toy Drive.

To help us continue the level of care that our patients need and deserve, please contact our office at (864) 455-8741.

Community Service

Staff and volunteers of Camp Courage are available to give presentations regarding camp and our center within the community. Please call us at (864) 455-8741 to schedule a visit.

Friends of Camp Courage

  • Clement’s Kindness
  • Carolina Shag Club
  • Healthcare Trust of America
  • South Carolina Pest Control Association
  • Upper Piedmont Pest Control
  • Grand Strand Pest Control
  • Metrolina Pest Control
  • The Blade Junior Golf Classic
  • Sabrina House Children’s Charities
  • AT&T Pioneers
  • The Beaded Frog
  • South Carolina Children’s Theater
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Sposa Bella Photography
  • Hurricane Martial Arts
  • Diane Wilson Group
  • Re/Max Reality
  • 3D Fitness-Kickboxing
  • Ink Tycoon
  • Stampin’ Up-Dawn Tidd
  • Eden Farms
  • Lifetime Entertainment
  • Angela Breazeale-Massage Therapist

Special thanks to the Greenville County Recreation Department staff, community volunteers, and our staff.