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Camp Chihopi aims to provide a non-medical environment where campers can interact with other children and staff who have similar medical backgrounds in the setting of a summer camping experience. The goal of this experience is to support the children as they increase self-esteem through peer interactions and to practice and improve their skills in self-advocacy and becoming more independent.
These young transplant recipients, having survived the acute stages of liver and/or intestinal transplantation, are learning to adapt and cope with their medical routines and chronic care. Camp provides an opportunity for these children to take additional steps toward participating in routine childhood experiences.
Through their experiences at Camp Chihopi, children develop independence and self-esteem, build relationships with peers, and increase their understanding of their health care experiences.
Camp Chihopi aims to provide a non-medical environment in which the campers can increase self-esteem and interact with other children of similar medical backgrounds in the setting of a summer camping experience.
"It’s nice being at a camp where everybody has the same scar," a girl reflects on her Camp Chihopi experience.
Campers range in age from 7 through 15 years and are grouped by age and developmental level within cabins. Depending on camp enrollment, there are 4 to 8 campers in a cabin. Each cabin is staffed with a Counselor and one or two Assistant Counselors. Some cabins may require additional staffing based on the children’s needs.
Campers are supervised by health care professionals and volunteers who have experience working with children and pediatric transplant recipients. Additionally, many older transplant recipients are now attending camp as counselors and staff. Many of these young adults have had several years experience at Camp Chihopi as campers when they were younger.
Transplant recipients who are ages 16 and 17 can attend Camp Chihopi in the role of Counselor in Training (CIT). Becoming involved in a more challenging role at camp, the CITs step into early leadership positions and have the opportunity to organize an activity for the younger campers. The CIT position helps transition the older campers into the Assistant Counselor role for the following year. Sometimes the teens benefit from being a CIT for 2 years.
The Health Center is staffed by experienced transplant nurses from Children’s Hospital that most of the children know from being in the hospital or transplant clinic. Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are available at all times and at least one doctor from Children’s Hospital is on site throughout the camp session.
Learn more about the camp activities.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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