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


  • Why did Camp Heart Connection change this year?

    Due to recent health concerns brought to our attention by our team of medical advisors, the difficult decision has been made to adjust Camps and offer an alternative option to Sibling and Oncology Camps. We created a new in-person Camp experience for this summer that involves the entire family. Learn more here:
    We’re committed to providing programs and activities that all of our amazing families can look forward to. If you aren’t able to attend one of the four family Camps this summer, please look at our other events and activities to get involved with:

  • Is Camp free to attend?

    Yes! There is no registration cost.

  • Can my family sign up for more than one Camp session?

    No. In order to ensure all families have an equal opportunity to sign up, each family may register for ONE of the four available sessions only.

  • How can my family register?

    To register, please visit:
    Questions? No problem! Email or call 515-243-6239 and we’d be happy to assist.

  • Do my children need to provide any of the following documents to attend Camp: Health Evaluation Form, Insurance Card, or Immunization Record?

    No. Because parents or guardians will be present at Camp, they are responsible for managing and distributing all medications for all minors in their party, so therefore these forms are not needed.

  • Will there be medical staff on site at Camp?

    There will be at least one licensed medical professional on site to assist with First Aid and CPR. In addition, all of our staff is First Aid/CPR certified.

  • What are the check-in and check-out times for each session?

    The check-in window will be from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Day 1 of each session.
    If your family cannot make it during the check-in window and will be arriving later that evening, please email with your estimated arrival time.

  • If I can’t attend camp but my children want to come, what are my options?

    We completely understand that it may be difficult to take time off of work at such short notice, and we sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.
    As a way to help ensure more families can attend, we allow substitute caregivers, ages 18 or older, to attend Camp with children. Simply complete the “Designated Caregiver Release Form” during the registration process to confirm which adult will act as the primary caregiver for your child(ren).
    This may include a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or another family member.
    Another option is to ask a parent/guardian from another CCC family that’s attending Camp to have your child stay with them. In that case, BOTH families need to complete the “Designated Caregiver Release Form” during the registration process – one to confirm which CCC family you are accepting into your cabin, and one to confirm which CCC family you are assigning parental responsibility to for the registered session.

  • How old does a Designated Caregiver need to be?

    Designated caregivers for each family need to be 18 years or older.

  • What will Camp look like?

    Each family-inclusive camp session will look very similar to regular Oncology and Sibling Camps, with the added bonus of the entire family getting to join in on the fun! We’re determined to include all of the fun, traditional camp activities that occur each year, including Aunt Fifi’s and Mortimer’s parties, Wish Night, Haircutting, Tie-dye, and more! We’ll be squeezing all the camp magic into four short days, rather than the typical week.

  • My family can only come for one or two nights for our registered session. Can we still attend?

    Yes! Even if your family can only attend for one or two nights, your family is more than welcome to attend whenever it’s convenient. Just choose the correct session that fits your schedule and let the Camp Director know ahead of time when you plan on attending. Email with your schedule details.

  • I registered for Camp, when will I see more Camp details and a general schedule?

    After you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email with general Camp information (address, Camp map, packing list, CCC contacts, etc.). In late May, you’ll receive another email with the daily session schedule (meal times, CHC tradition activities, etc.).
    In early June, you’ll receive an email with the specific schedule of activities for your session and your family that you selected at registration (horseback riding, rock wall, zip line, swimming, etc.).

  • How will my senior camper be acknowledged during Camp?

    We are so proud of our senior campers and cannot wait to acknowledge their senior year during Camp! Any seniors attending Camp will still receive recognition gifts and a special shout out during their session. Also, we’re currently in the works of planning a “Senior Send Off” this summer, where seniors will have another opportunity to celebrate with friends. We’ll have more details about the “Senior Send Off” soon, so stay tuned!

  • Will there be internet service (wifi) at Camp?

    While wireless internet is provided at Camp, it’s often intermittent due to the limited connection reach in the area. Parents are welcome to bring a hotspot, but service may still be spotty.

  • Will my child(ren) still get to interact with other sibling/oncology campers?

    Absolutely! We understand the need for all three groups of campers (sibling, oncology, and parents) to each have their own designated times to connect and have that special time together. We will have numerous breakout activities planned throughout your session to provide these opportunities.

  • As a parent, will I get the opportunity to connect with other CCC parents while at Camp?

    Definitely! Based on recent survey responses, we acknowledge the desire for parents to connect with other parents who are on a similar journey. While at Camp, parents will have numerous opportunities to chat with other parents (without the kids present) and have that special time to connect.

  • In the announcement letter, it mentions that Camp Heart Connection is a COCA-I Gold Ribbon Accredited Camp. What is COCA-I and why is it important to Children’s Cancer Connection?

    COCA-I stands for the “Children’s Oncology Camping Association” and is a non-profit that strengthens the international community of camps for children with cancer and their families.
    COCA currently consists of almost 130 member camps from within the United States and Canada, and provides resources needed to run the best possible summer camps through networking, advocacy, education, and other resources.
    Camp Heart Connection is a Gold Ribbon Accredited Camp Program through COCA-I, which means it is an education program intended to help us identify policies and practices that are documented and delivered in the course of providing a medically and emotionally safe pediatric oncology camp experience.
    In order to uphold our accreditation status yearly, Camp Heart Connection has specific guidelines and standards to follow that must be obtained and recorded at all times.
    By being a COCA-I Gold Ribbon Accredited Camp, we remain confident that we are always providing the best possible Camp experience to the families we serve. To read more information about COCA-I, you can visit their website at


  • 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 services at little-to-no cost for families. No one is ever turned away because of financial consideration.

  • 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 camp 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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