child examination table

Merry Heart Children’s Camp Provides Outdoor Fun for Kids With Heart Conditions

“Friendship is a sheltering tree,” wrote poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Merry Heart Children’s Camp is a safe place where kids with heart disease can make enduring friendships, have fun and develop creative and physical skills.

Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon is a proud sponsor of the Merry Heart Children’s Camp. The summer get-together is for kids ages 9-14 who have heart conditions.

Merry Heart Children’s Camp runs from Aug. 21-25, 2016. Camp registration, including physician clearance, must be completed by May 31, 2016.

During this second, annual camp, kids can participate in sports and games, learn teamwork and gain confidence and independence. The five-day, four-night event has room for 48 campers and will have 24-hour medical supervision.

Camp Howard, 50 minutes east of Portland, Oregon, is the setting for Merry Heart. This 240-acre wooded setting has meadows, streams, and a pond. Activities include fishing, hiking, archery, basketball, crafting and swimming in a heated pool.

Before 2015 there wasn’t an Oregon or Southwest Washington summer camp for kids with heart conditions. Without such a place, many children couldn’t experience the summer rite of getting bug bites, singing by a campfire or bunking in a cabin with friends.

Dr. Mary Jo Rice wanted to right this wrong. She formed a board to make a reality her dream of Merry Heart Children’s Camp.

This special camp gives kids a chance to meet others who share their health conditions. At camp, no kid feels out of place because of a health challenge. Campers don’t have to explain a surgery scar or feel awkward about physical limitations or medication schedules.

Every camper and some counselors have a heart condition. Everyone understands. For some kids, Merry Heart Children’s Camp will be the first place they meet other kids who share their condition. Children will leave camp feeling renewed by friendships and bolstered by new achievements and abilities.

Parents can rest easy knowing the medical needs of their child will be attended to. Pediatric cardiologists, nurses or other trained staff will supervise activities. Medical supplies and equipment to care for children with heart conditions will be on site. Nutritious food will be prepared by the camp’s cooks.

Everything you need to know to reserve your place for the Merry Heart Children’s Camp can be found in the application packet. Download a camp application and medical form and parent-information packet at Merry Heart Children’s Camp website.