So… What’s it really like…

Each year we try to squeeze in as many life experiences and memories as possible into our programs. Along with traditional camp activities such as swimming, athletics, rope course and arts & crafts, Ta-Kum-Ta offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as rock climbing expeditions, hot-air balloon rides and lake cruises. One day the kids are playing kick-ball and the next they’re dressed to the nines for a formal prom!

At Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, the common denominator in our community is cancer – and as such, the focus shifts from being the ‘one out,’ to being ‘one of.’ In our daily activities the question is not ‘can they do it’ but more ‘how can we make it possible for them to do it!’

Many kids, many stories. One Camp.

The magic of Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is it’s ability to create a place that brings together the most amazing and inspiring individuals you will ever meet into an environment of inclusiveness and empathy. Every camper has a story to tell, but in no other place is that story so well understood.

Meet a few of the remarkable kids who have come here:

Scott assured his parents that he could beat the brain tumor affecting his speech and hearing. When Camp Ta-Kum-Ta moved to South Hero after he graduated and despite his symptoms, he was committed to help prepare the camp so that other children could experience what he had. Now a student at RIT, he will now enjoy his first year at Ta-Kum-Ta as a staff member.

Michael’s rewarding smiles illuminated us all as he drove a powerful boat on Lake Champlain, hit a home run in the all-camp softball game, and danced with every girl at the formal dance. Camp was held in August that year and at 16 years old, Michael died in December.

At age 7, Alisha knew she would not survive her disease but was determined to make the most of her time at Ta-Kum-Ta. At daily communion with her priest, she told him she wasn’t quite ready to go to heaven – she had many more knock-knock jokes to tell and friends to make. She openly shared her feelings and was truly an inspiration to all campers. She taught us all what living life to its fullest was all about.

Hear what some of our campers’ parents have to say about their child’s experience at TKT:

Mason-Parents“This was Mason’s first year at Camp TKT and I am so glad we sent him.  I, like many other parents, was very nervous, but so many things reassured me he would be fine and have the time of his life and… in fact he was fine and had more than the time of his life.  As soon as we got home he started spreading the word and telling all the stories from his days at camp.  I want to thank the entire staff and volunteers at camp this year and years past for making experiences like this available for our kids.  Words cannot express our thanks!  I would say I was amazed by the reception we got at pick-up, but really it was completely expected; it is the same reception we get from friends and family and that is what all the staff, volunteers, campers and their families are considered in my mind.

So again, THANK YOU!  Mason will be there next year, and every year after that and I am sure he will graduate to a volunteer.”

-Kristy, AKA Mason’s Mom (2014)



“I have wanted to write this note for a long time and kept putting it off because it is so difficult to express the gratitude and respect I feel for all you do for TKT children and their families.  While the medical teams work so hard to heal their bodies, you heal them emotionally and spiritually.

Kat--Parents-webKat was well on her way to a full physical recovery from her transplant when she went to camp for the first time last summer.  She looked forward to all the camp activities.  What she came back with was so much more valuable than the camping experience.  TKT had worked its magic and she returned confident, regardless of what she had been through she was still Kat and she would not only survive but thrive.  TKT helped heal her soul and the core of who she is.  You provided a secure place where she could be herself, a place where cancer is just a fact, not a conversation stopper.  Her calendar now revolves around TKT events and connecting with campers and staff.”

-Carol, Kat’s Mom (2013)




Mason-snider--parents-web“There are not enough words to express my sincere thanks to all of you at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. I was nervous about letting Mason go, because he had never been away with “strangers” before. Well, I was so wrong thinking he was going to be with “strangers”. The pictures, videos and his memories of all the things he did made me realize that you are just like family. When we left Camp that day, I was in awe of all of the volunteers and staff standing on each side of the driveway saying goodbye to each child as we drove away. He continues to ask me about the Halloween and Holiday celebrations and the Winter Weekend. He also can’t wait to get back there next summer. I am so glad that I let him go and make the memories that he did and I am excited for him to be able to make many more. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

-Stacy, Mason’s Mom (2012)