Frequently Asked Questions

When is camp held? 

Camp COCO 2019 will be held Sunday, June 23, to Friday, June 28.

Where is Camp COCO held, and how do I get there?

Camp COCO is held at the Timber Pointe Outdoor Center (TPOC) located on Lake Bloomington in Hudson, Illinois. Type in your starting location to find the best route for you using Google Maps.

Who can attend Camp COCO?

Children who have been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder and are between the ages 6-17 are invited to attend Camp COCO. Siblings of children who have been diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder and are age 6-17 are also welcome to attend.

How much does Camp COCO cost?

Camp COCO is FREE for all campers thanks to many generous donors.

Contributions from individuals, service clubs and businesses to the COCO Children's Cancer Fund provide the approximate $700 cost for each camper. Our biggest fundraiser, the Annual Camp COCO Golf Outing, occurs each June in Springfield. Register online or contact Patsy Wappel, 217.545.0395.

If you're interested in sponsoring a camper or making a donation, visit the online giving form at SIU Medicine's Foundation Office and select COCO Children's Cancer Fund in the drop down menu, or call the Foundation Office at 217.545.2955.

What should I pack?

2 Sheets, 1 Blanket OR 1 Sleeping bag
1 Pillow with pillowcase
Cuddle item as needed

6 T-shirts
6 Pairs of shorts
1-2 Pairs of jeans/long pants
6 Pairs of underwear
6 Pairs of socks
Tennis shoes/Shoes/Sandals
Rain coat or poncho
1 Sweatshirt or Jacket
2 Pair of pajamas
1 nice outfit for the end of camp dance party

4 Washcloths
4-5 Towels
Soap & Shampoo/Conditioner
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Sunscreen/Lip Balm with SPF
Incontinent supplies if needed
Sanitary supplies if needed

Beach towel
Insect repellant
Flashlight with batteries
Laundry bag
Plastic bag for wet clothes for last day
Flip flops/Shower shoes

What is medical care like at camp?

Rest assured your child is in good hands at Camp COCO. Our "Med Shed" is staffed by pediatric hematology/oncology nurses and a pediatric hematology/oncology physician 24 hours a day. We take care of your child’s routine medical care and emergencies. Medical resources in the Med Shed include:  emergency medications, oral and IV antibiotics, IV fluids and treatment of minor emergencies. Routine and emergency blood work is drawn at camp and sent to a local hospital. If x-rays are needed, they are done at a local hospital. Your insurance may be billed for these services.

Minor medical problems (for example: minor cuts, ear infections, sore throats, vomiting, sprains) can be handled at camp.  Emergency medical care will be given as needed (for example: IV antibiotics, pain medicines, IV fluids). If your child becomes seriously ill or has a more serious injury, you and your child’s doctor will be notified.  If necessary, we will arrange transport to a local hospital.

We want you to know if your child gets sick or hurt at camp and call you if your child has any injury or illness that requires off-site treatment, a new prescription medication, or more than 2 hours of observation in the Med Shed. 

During registration you will be required to give all medications, including over-the-counter preparations, vitamins, and oral contraceptives to the medical staff for storage.  Do not pack any medications or medical supplies in your child’s belongings.  No medications are allowed in the cabins for safety reasons.  Inhalers are the only exception, after speaking with the medical staff at registration.

We also ask parents and guardians to:

  1. Provide the medical staff with sufficient medication and related supplies to cover the full length of camp.
  2. Properly label all medications with the camper’s name and ensure the meds come in the original medication container. Please note that we do not accept pre-filled pill boxes.
  3. Notify medical staff at registration if there is a change in the medication dosage or schedule that is not reflected on the medication label.
  4. Please alert the medical staff at registration if your child has been given their morning medications as well as medications that are due before the evening meal, to ensure consistency in the medication schedule. Please make every effort to give them their morning and noon meds prior to leaving them at camp with us.
  5. Sign a medication sheet at registration, verifying that you agree with the medication administration schedule that the medical staff has prepared after speaking with you by phone prior to camp. The camp medical staff will contact you 1-2 weeks prior to camp to discuss any changes and to hopefully minimize the time you spend at registration.

What does a typical day at Camp COCO look like?

7:00 am           Rise and Shine!
8:00 am           Breakfast
9:00 am           Morning Activities

Campers will rotate between several organized activities including: fishing, canoeing, field sports, target sports, arts & crafts, outdoor nature, and horseback riding.
12:00 pm        Lunch, Clean cabin and/or Rest period
1:45 pm          Afternoon Activities
Campers will participate in activities including:  swimming, zip line, high ropes course, barnyard animals, special events, and more.
3:00 pm          Snack
3:45 pm          Continued Afternoon Activities
5:30 pm          Dinner
6:45 pm          Evening Activities
A special activity is planned for each night.  Some examples are pontoon boat rides, hay-rack rides, swimming party, glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, and of course the last night is always a dance party with a DJ.
9:00 pm          Meds & Beds for younger campers – Usually shower time to wash off the dirt.
                      Teen (13-17yo) Night Activities
Evening activities for the teens are organized/supervised game nights of some variety.
10:30 pm        Meds & Beds for all

How can parents help prevent our kiddo from becoming homesick? How does the camp handle it?

Every year, a few kids get homesick at camp. This is a normal part of being away from home and part of “growing up” as children gain independence. Camp may be very different from a child’s home environment – rooming with others, different food, etc. There are many ways you can help your child prepare for camp and reduce homesickness:

  1. Practice sleeping in a sleeping bag or tent at home and using a flashlight.
  2. Talk to your child about what they will get to do at camp.
  3. Send a favorite toy, pillow, or blanket to camp to help them stay connected to home.
  4. Avoid temptation to “make a deal” such as telling your child, “If you give camp a few days and don’t like it, I will come get you.” The offer to rescue your child is done with the best of intentions, but a child may focus on nothing else but how to make this happen and might not give camp a fair chance. Don’t feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp.  This opportunity is the first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development.

We have found that having children call their parent(s) usually makes homesickness worse. If a child is very homesick, the medical staff will call you to discuss how to proceed without upsetting your child. We care about your child and we want camp to be a good experience. We try very hard to help campers beat homesickness. We have found that homesickness lasts 1-2 days and usually sets in because they are tired, hungry or bored. Once they are rested, fed, and kept busy with activities, they usually feel better.

Our goal is to provide a safe, rewarding camp week for every participant and we will not tolerate any form of bullying. We want your child to feel safe and comfortable to contact any member of our medical staff to address anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Every camper is important to us and we want them to leave camp feeling happy and that it was the “best week ever”!