JA Camp

The Arthritis Foundation’s JA camp programs give kids with arthritis and related childhood rheumatic diseases the chance to make lasting memories.

JA Camps

In-Person JA Camps Are Back

For kids with JA and other pediatric rheumatic conditions, our overnight camps give them the confidence and connections they need to help them navigate their own disease. We have restructured our JA camp program to better serve young patients and their families. Though we are not hosting as many in-person camps as before, we remain strongly committed to making the greatest impact possible for the JA community. Read more in our FAQs section below. COVID restrictions are in place for everyone’s safety, and camps may be cancelled at any time if local health conditions warrant cancellation.

2022 In-Person JA Camp: COVID-19 Policies

The following policies are minimum suggestions. Any camp medical director may choose to implement additional policies, as they see necessary.  

Vaccination Requirements 

  • Proof of full vaccination for all campers, volunteers, facility staff and Arthritis Foundation staff. Proof of vaccination must be produced to gain access to the camp.  

  • See CDC guidance  for vaccination recommendations by age and immune system status 

  • Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19. Information about COVID testing will be provided well before the opening day of camp. 

  • Those who have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within 21 days should not attend camp until they have met the CDC requirements for being in public spaces. 

  • Individuals will not be admitted to the camp without a signed waiver and proof of full vaccination, which must be uploaded into the registration system prior to attending. All attendees’ vaccination records will be reviewed and verified. Once approved, confirmation of registration approval will be emailed to you. Questions about registration status should be directed to your camp director. 

Our COVID vaccine requirement was developed in partnership with a panel of medical experts. They reviewed guidance on vaccines for immunocompromised patients from sources like the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Travel and Check-in Precautions  

  • No transportation will be provided by the Arthritis Foundation. We strongly suggest no carpooling or ridesharing to camp.  

  • At least one parent/guardian per camper must be present at check-in on-site at camp.   

  • If a camper is flying or driving over 12 hours to attend camp, a parent must stay within a reasonable distance for emergency pickup or designate another adult within reasonable distance for pickup, for their camper to be accepted to a camp program.  

On-site Precautions 

  • Because we will work to create a “camp bubble,” pediatric rheumatologists suggest we do not need to cohort campers, only indoor mask wearing where required by facility.  

  • We will work with each facility on cleaning, hand washing, water jug handling, and other hygiene.   

  • We will work with each facility to arrange COVID-friendly dining arrangements, if applicable, based on other circumstances: 

  • Outdoor dining  

  • Staggered and/or longer mealtimes 

Camp Program

JA Camps Around the Country

Following is a list of JA camps the Arthritis Foundation is hosting, including dates and information about camper registration and volunteer applications.

VIRTUAL
National Virtual JA Camp
July 11 – 13
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration 

CALIFORNIA
Camp Milagros
Livermore, CA
June 26 – 30
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration  

COLORADO
JA Camp - Colorado
Deckers, CO
June 26 – July 1
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration  

GEORGIA
Camp Ache Away - Georgia
Lincolnton, GA
May 29 – June 3
Registration is now closed

KANSAS/MISSOURI
Camp Joint Adventures
Lawson, MO
June 6 – 9
Registration is now closed  

MINNESOTA
Camp Cambria
July 24 – 29
Maple Lake, MN
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration  

PENNSYLVANIA/NEW JERSEY
Camp JRA: CHAT
Millville, PA
July 17 – 22
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration  

WISCONSIN
Camp M.A.S.H.
Wisconsin Dells, WI
August 7 -12
Registration deadline May 31, 2022
Click here for camper registration
Click here for volunteer registration  

NORTHEAST

Camp Dartmouth-Hitchcock
August 14 – 20
UPDATES ARE COMING SOON!

DAY CAMPS:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Camp Esperanza
Due to COVID-19, Camp Esperanza will not host a week of camp in the summer as usual. Please check back for updates about a possible Camp Day even in the summer and a weekend camp in the fall of 2022.

UTAH
Camp KODA
Due to COVID-19, Camp KODA will not host an overnight camp in the summer as usual.
Park City, UT
June 25 – Ages 13 – 17 Camper Registration 
August 6 – Ages 8 – 12 Camper Registration 
Click here for volunteer registration

 
OTHER JA PROGRAMS:

WASHINGTON
KATFISH
Family Event
Auburn, WA
July 29 - 31
Click here for registration

Third-Party Camps

External Camps Joining Us

Camps hosted by other organizations are listed below. This is not a complete list. When you leave our website, the Arthritis Foundation is not responsible for actions you take or associated liabilities.

Camp Aldersgate      Little Rock, AR 

The Painted Turtle        Lake Hughes   CA

Camp Boggy Creek    Eustis, FL

Victory Junction          Randleman, NC

Double H Ranch          Lake Luzerne   NY

Camp Holiday Trails    Charlottesville VA

JA Camp FAQs for Families & Volunteers

Why are the camp program offerings changing?

Providing a safe, volunteer-driven camp model that best meets the needs of our youth has always been our priority. We assessed camps for the greatest overall impact and identified camp locations with the strongest volunteer leadership structure. These are all important factors that were considered in developing recommendations for our new camp program model.

Why are some camps continuing while others are not?

A volunteer task team was convened to discuss key considerations, which guided the decision to move forward with supporting select direct service camps only. Direct service camps are for children and teens with JA and led by Arthritis Foundation volunteers. We will no longer be supporting family camps, teen retreats or camps run by another organization (third party). This decision was based on safety, streamlining resources across all our camp programs, the presence of strong volunteer engagement opportunities and optimal family engagement. Direct service camps allow us to have the greatest overall impact based on how they are operated.  

The direct service camps we run already have existing, robust volunteer support, including a commitment to take on a larger role in camp leadership positions, with limited support from staff.  

Who was on the volunteer task team? How did they make these recommendations?

The volunteer task team guided us in “re-envisioning” our JA camp program strategy. This team — made up of JA parents, camp volunteers and health care professionals — offered guidance and input toward our new camp model.

Is this a permanent change?

This is our new JA camp model going forward. We are exploring creative and innovative options for camp program delivery, while remaining focused on safety, well-being and impact. We are committed to being a volunteer-powered organization, which will enable us to grow our camp program in the future and include more communities with a strong volunteer base and a passion for camp.

What about family camps?

We made the difficult decision to focus our camp resources on camps that allow us to serve as many children and teens with JA and other rheumatic conditions as possible. We are committed to providing other resources to support the entire family, such as our annual National JA Conference, which is a great opportunity to learn, grow and find connections for the entire family, including parents and siblings. Local communities will also facilitate JA family activities and connections. 

What about third-party camps?

We made the difficult decision to focus our camp resources on direct service camps that serve children and teens with JA (the Arthritis Foundation recruits all volunteers, develops programming/activities and manages registration). Our data suggests that direct service camps allow us to have the most overall impact based on how they are operated. That said, we will continue to provide information about third-party camps if those are your choice. 

Can our local community host a JA camp if we raise enough money?

Arthritis Foundation resources, including a smaller staffing structure, can only support camps selected by the volunteer task team. Funding is not the only factor needed to host a JA camp program. Staffing, volunteer structure and the ability to reach as many campers as possible with limited resources also were considered in identifying the selected camps.

With these changes, who will be staffing our camps?

The Arthritis Foundation’s long-standing volunteers, who have planned and led these JA camps for years, will be there. Volunteer leadership at each camp will include a medical director (a pediatric rheumatologist or other qualified medical professional), a medical team, a mental health director (a licensed and experienced mental health professional) and a program director. Along with these volunteer leaders, a team of counselors and activity specialists (many of them now adults living with JA) will support campers during their week at camp.  
 
Each Arthritis Foundation JA camp will have a trained staff person working with camp volunteer leadership for risk management purposes. We are very confident in the ability of our volunteers to continue delivering safe and memorable experiences for all campers. 

How can previous camp volunteers stay engaged?

We encourage and welcome volunteers to apply for their desired volunteer position and get involved with planning the nationwide virtual camp. We will strive to engage any volunteer who is interested in camp in some way.

The Arthritis Foundation’s Continued Commitment to the JA Community

We’ve had to make some difficult decisions. As we weather these challenging times, we remain committed to providing resources and support to help kids with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases live a full life — including hosting virtual JA camps, JA days and our annual National JA Conference, as well as providing JA Power Packs and Live Yes! Connect Groups for JA parents. We are solidly committed to the JA community, advocating for better treatments and supporting research to find a cure.  
 
We also encourage kids, families and volunteers to share ideas, be creative and continue to think about ways we can best serve the JA community together.

Do you have other questions or concerns not covered in our FAQ?

Please contact Violet Gutierrez at [email protected].
Past JA Events
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!
Flashback on Arthritis Foundation JA Camps
Our JA camps have been life-changing for countless youth. Many of them have gone on to serve as camp counselors and in other roles. See photos collected in recent years that depict this memorable experience. We would love to see you join us this summer!

National Supporting Sponsors

Thank you to our 2022 National JA Camps sponsors for making this memorable experience possible.

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By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

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Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

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