General - FAQs

Q: What are Merry Heart Children's Camp camper acceptance guidelines?
A: Merry Heart Children Camp is a place specifically for youth with heart conditions. We do not accept or decline any youth over the phone or via e-mail. These guidelines are intended to help you as a parent/guardian determine if you should submit an online application. Please contact us if you have questions prior to applying.

In order to have an application reviewed by our medical committee, the youth must meet the following criteria:

  • Heart conditions must be the primary health concern of the youth.

  • The youth has a basic knowledge of their heart condition

  • Be able to walk without any physical limitations.

  • The youth must independently manage their daily routine.

    • Be self-reliant in caring for hygiene, toileting and eating needs.

    • Sleep independently in their own bed.

  • A pediatric cardiologist and/or primary care provider must see the youth on a regular basis.

    • The youth needs to have been seen by their pediatric cardiologist within twelve (12) months prior to the start of camp but no later than June 30th.

    • If your youth is not seen on an annual base, then your primary care provider will need to see your child within twelve (12) months prior to the start of camp but not later than June 30th.

  • The youth has the ability to participate and engage in team-based activities.

  • The youth demonstrates nonviolent behavior, follow the rules, i.e. staying with buddy/group leaders at all times.

  • Be able to stay overnight for four nights.

If the youth has any other illnesses, disabilities (physical or developmental), or other health problems, Merry Heart Children's Camp will review those files on an individual basis and determine if the youth will be accepted to camp. If you have questions, please contact us.

Q:  How do I know that my youth is prepared for summer camp?

They might think they are ready, and you might be ready for them to go to camp – both of which are part of the process.

Start with reading “First Time at Camp? – Talking with your child about what to expect” and Ready for Camp Checklist, created by Bob Ditter, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child, adolescent, and family therapy, and a long-time consultant for camps across the country and the American Camp Association.

It is not a set of absolute requirements for Merry Heart Children’s Camp, but rather a starting point for conversation and naming of growth opportunities for your camper.

The American Camp Association also has resources on their website to help parents and guardians support their campers in getting ready – try their Preparing for Camp page.

Has your camper spent much time outside? Although we’ve created what we consider a home in the woods at camp, and many of our campers really appreciate the opportunity to connect with nature and their peers, it’s important to be confident your camper can handle our rustic living set-up. Go camping for the weekend together, or research short-term programs that offer young people opportunities outdoors.

Q: What is the cost of camp?

A: The cost for camp is $555.00, but the only charge to your youth is a nonrefundable registration fee of $55.00.

We would like to encourage any family who is in the position to pay more up to the full amount to please do so. Any amount over $55.00 will be consider a tax-deductible donation.

Every dollar donated will help. Your support/donation will help Merry Heart Children's Camp and the youths who may not be able to pay more attend camp.  Thank you.

Q: What if my youth cannot or chooses not to participate in some of the camp activities?
A: Our staff understands and respects the difference in each youth. We try to make every activity available at many different levels and hope your youth will choose a level of participation in which they are comfortable.

Q: As a parent of camper, how can I volunteer?
A: Volunteers are the heart of our program. Although we do not allow parents of campers to volunteer as camp staff during the same week of camp their youth is attending, we have many opportunities for parents to volunteer throughout the year, helping us with events, fundraising and camp program development.

Please contact us with any questions about volunteering.

Q: What is the goal of a Merry Heart Children's Camp experience?
A: At Merry Heart Children's Camp, we strive for the following goals and outcomes for campers:

  • Increase acceptance of themselves and others.

  • Develop and improve friendship skills.

  • Become responsibly engaged through being a team player as a part of cabin group.

  • Gain a greater sense of independence through being away from home and unplugged.

Q: How will my youth be placed in a cabin?
A: Campers are placed in cabins with other campers of the same gender and age range. We also consider your child’s health needs, in order to create a well-balanced cabin group. Camp counselors sleep in cabins with campers.

Q: What is Merry Heart Children’s Camp non-discrimination policy?
A: Merry Heart Children’s Camp serves all individuals regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

 Q: How does Merry Heart Children’s Camp support my youth’s gender identity?
A: Per our non-discrimination policy, Merry Heart Children’s Camp is a safe and accepting place that supports the development of personal identities, free of fear and stigma when promoting self-expression.  Our campers think of Merry Heart Children’s Camp as a home away from home… a place where they are free to be their true selves.  We couldn’t be prouder of this!  

Within the camper application, we ask: “Is there anything you would like to share about your child’s gender identity?” When a family responds in the affirmative, additional information is sought by Merry Heart Children’s Camp leadership. We work closely with families of campers that are transitioning to another gender or are identifying as another gender to ensure their youth’s camp experience is positive.  As with ALL Merry Heart Children’s Camp campers, we maintain a strict level of confidentiality and respect for anyone involved in our programs.

American Camp Association –
Human Rights Campaign:
Family Acceptance Project:
Gender Spectrum:

Please contact us with any questions.