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Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions by clicking the questions below.


  • How is Summer Camp different than Family Camp?

    Summer Camp sessions are three nights and four days long whereas the Family Camp sessions are only two nights and three days over the weekend. During our Family Camps, the pool is not open, but it is open during the Summer Camp sessions. We also bring some of the camp traditions that are typically only seen at Oncology and Sibling Camp like Aunt Fifi, Wish Night, Fireworks, and more during the Summer Camp sessions.

  • Is the pool open?


  • What other activities are there?

    Activities include – Horseback trail riding, pony riding, zip lining, rock wall, riflery/archery, swimming, arts & crafts, creek stomping, tie dye, and volunteer lead activities.

  • What if our family can’t be there all four days?

    Don’t worry if your family can’t stay the whole four days, we can work with you to make accommodations around your family’s schedule. Just please email on specific days and times your family will arrive and depart.

  • Can we bring grandparents/cousins/etc?

    We would love to share the camp magic with everyone, that is why the whole family is welcome to join us. Just keep in mind when registering that each cabin capacity is 16 people max.

  • Can we bring alcohol?

    No, alcohol is not allowed on the Des Moines Y Camp premises.

  • Is there a curfew?

    There is technically no curfew. Families are welcome to sit around the campfires at night for as long as they want. Although, we do encourage families to start quieting down for the night around 10pm.

  • What if I can’t get work off?

    We understand getting work off may be difficult. That is why we have created the designated caregiver form, which allows anyone over the age of 18, with your permission, to take your place at camp with your children. The Designated Caregiver form can be found on the CampBrain registration portal and is required for the parent before arriving to Camp and signed by the designated caregiver upon arrival to Camp.

  • What if my family needs special accommodations during camp?

    We are happy to work with any family accommodations to make sure that your family has the best experience at camp. Please be sure to list any and all accommodations on your registration so we can plan accordingly.

  • Can we leave camp and come back?

    We highly encourage your family to not come and go during your session due to concern for any unnecessary COVID-19 exposure. If you need supplies, snacks, or extra clothing, our staff has packed extra things on hand for these types of situations. If we don’t have what you need, someone from Children’s Cancer Connection staff would be willing to drive into town for you. We are there to make your session as easy as possible.

  • Can we bring our own food?

    Absolutely! The Des Moines Y Camp provides three meals a day and Children’s Cancer Connection will provide openly accessible snacks throughout your session. However, if there is something specific that your family loves, bring it! Please make sure that all snacks are peanut free and not manufactured in a factory that may contain peanuts.

  • Do we have to wear masks outdoors?

    You do not need to wear your masks outside as long as you are able to appropriately social distance between other families, Camp Heart Connection volunteer staff, or YMCA staff.

  • Will oncology, sibling and parents/guardians have time for themselves?

    Yes! To maintain what makes camp so special, we will provide “break out groups” during your session where oncology, sibling, and parents/guardians will have an opportunity to connect on their own.

  • What does this mean for LITs?

    The structure of the LIT Program will remain the same as a normal year of camp. In May there is a virtual opportunity held in addition to in-person sessions. Sibling campers will attend the full week in person in June and oncology campers will attend the full week in person in August. The registration deadline to apply for an LIT position is March 4th. For more information regarding the LIT Program or how to apply, follow the link:


Where did CCC move to? 

  • The new Jeff and Deb Hansen Home for Hope is located at 5701 Greendale Road, Johnston, IA 50131
  • Because we serve all families in the state, it’s important that we stay central to the families that we serve in Iowa.

What are the benefits of the new location?

  • Accessibility for all with a fully ADA compliant facility
  • Centrally located in Iowa, easy to find and right off I80
  • Family-friendly neighborhood with nearby amenities, including parks, restaurants, grocery stores, a ChildServe campus
  • Ample parking spaces
  • Plenty of space for indoor and outdoor programs and activities
  • Clearly identified spaces and entrances for programs and offices
  • Room for growth and expansion of programs
  • Structurally newer, more energy efficient facility that’s more cost effective to manage. This means more of our funding goes directly toward programs.
  • Opportunity for new and improved CCC Celebration Garden

Did you save the bricks from the CCC Celebration Garden?

  • Yes, we removed and kept the bricks from our Celebration Garden.
  • We will have some form of Celebration Garden at our new location.
  • If we do not reuse the bricks (if the Celebration Garden takes on a new structure), we will return them to families.

What renovations are planned for the new building? 

  • Our hope is to continue enhancing and improving the facility, which may include:
  • Renovations and modernizations to interior and exterior design
  • Even more program space, including a large multi-purpose room for programs and events
  • Outdoor covered patio or pavilion for gatherings
  • Accessible playground


  • How are children and families referred to your programs?

    We serve children diagnosed, treated or living in Iowa and their families. We get most of our referrals from Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. However, many of the children are referred to us through friends and family who are already familiar with our organization. We currently serve more than 700 children and their families throughout the state.

  • How are your programs funded?

    We are a statewide 501(c)3, nonprofit organization with our office located in Des Moines. We do not have any national affiliations and do not receive any federal or state money, nor are we a United Way agency. We host special events throughout the year to raise funds, and we rely on contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals to support our programs and services. Individuals may donate money through their employer’s charitable giving program by recognizing Children’s Cancer Connection as a “donor choice.” If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor of an event, please contact us at or 515-243-6239.

  • What do your programs cost?

    We support the entire family through the entire journey by providing programs at no cost to families.

  • Can my child still participate once they are off treatment?

    Yes, absolutely. We recognize the importance of staying connected to others on or off treatment and regardless of treatment outcome. The Entire Family. The Entire Journey.

  • Do you do background checks on volunteers and staff?

    Yes, we conduct background checks for every individual who signs up to volunteer or work with Children’s Cancer Connection. These background checks are completed every year for both new and returning staff, and files are kept from previous years.
    We use VeriFirst Background Screening, LLC, a consumer-reporting agency that provides Consumer Reports and Investigative Consumer Reports. VeriFirst is recommended by the COCA-I organization, which helps ensure we’re following the best practices to maintain our accreditation.
    When a background check is returned, the appropriate CCC staff member, along with the Volunteer Coordinator and CEO, view the report to see if any red flags appeared. If anything comes up regarding a criminal history specifically with children, the applicant is automatically denied and is not able to volunteer with CCC.

  • What is the significance of the Camp Heart Connection rainbow logo?

    John Cornish’s little brother, Danny, was five years old when he lost his battle with cancer in 1987. John said, “Cancer doesn’t just hurt the person with the disease, it hurts the whole family.” Before he died, Danny painted a picture of a bright rainbow surrounded by sunlight with a heart at its center. He said it was for all his family and friends who brought sunshine, rainbows and love to him during his illness. To this day, Danny’s colorful design signifies the philosophy of Camp Heart Connection.

  • We've moved. Who do I contact to update my information?

    We want to stay connected with you! Send us your updated information at

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