About Heart Camp

Heart Camp provides an opportunity for patients of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with congenital and acquired heart disease to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Kon-O-Kwee Spencer YMCA. Heart disease affects approximately 1 percent of all children born in the United States, yet very few who have heart disease are aware of others with the same problems. As a result, many children with heart conditions feel isolated. Heart Camp helps children and adolescents with heart disease feel less isolated by introducing them to other children and adults like themselves. Children and adolescents with structural and congenital heart disease, and patients of Children’s Hospital, will receive first priority to attend camp.

A Friendly Environment

Each year, more than 150 children ages 8–17 with heart conditions attend Heart Camp. Campers are encouraged to make new friends and share their experiences. Camp provides them with an opportunity to participate in sports and other camp activities to the best of their abilities without fear of being judged by others. Campers also have role models in their Heart Camp counselors and junior counselors. Most of the counselors and staff have heart conditions and were campers themselves at one time. They can speak from their past hospitalizations, tests, surgeries and illnesses; and are proof that children with heart disease can become normal functioning adults.

Make New Friends

Heart Camp is test- and pain-free. As such, it provides an opportunity for the children to interact with their doctors and nurses in a non-medical setting. In this environment, campers learn to view the medical staff as friends, while the medical staff learns more about each child’s personality and limitations.

When is Heart Camp?

Dr. Bill Neches Heart Camp for Kids is held the week before Father's Day every year starting on the Sunday before and ending on Saturday, the day before Father's Day.