Frequently Asked Questions about the Program

Who does Okizu serve?
What programs does Okizu offer?
Where is Camp Okizu?
What are the facilities like at Camp Okizu?
Is Okizu accredited?
Does Okizu partner with any hospitals?
How much does it cost families to attend Camp Okizu?

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Camp

Who can come to Family Camp?
What is a typical day at Family Camp?
What activities are available at Family Camp?
Do I have to participate in all of the activities at Family Camp?
What medical care is available during Family Camp?
What happens if there is a medical emergency at Family Camp?
What about germs? Will my family be exposed to germs at Family Camp?
Where will we sleep while we’re at Family Camp?
Who does the cooking and where are meals served?
Can we bring our own food?

Frequently Asked Questions about Oncology and SIBS Camp

Who can come to Oncology and SIBS Camp?
Who will my child live with at Oncology or SIBS Camp?
Who will my child’s counselor be?
Where will my child stay at Oncology or SIBS Camp?
What will my child do at Oncology or SIBS Camp?
What medical care is available during Oncology and SIBS Camp?
What happens if there is a medical emergency at Oncology or SIBS Camp?

Frequently Asked Questions about Teens-N-Twenties

Who can come to Teens-N-Twenties?
What will I/my child do at a Teens-N-Twenties program?
How do I sign myself/my child up for TNT?

Frequently Asked Questions about the Bereavement Programs

What bereavement programs does Okizu offer?
Do I have to participate in all of the activities at Bereaved Family Camp?
Who can come to a Bereaved Teen Weekend?
What will my child do at a Bereaved Teen Weekend?

Q: Who does Okizu serve?

A: Camp Okizu works with all of the pediatric oncology treatment centers in Northern California to serve all members of families affected by childhood cancer.

Q: What programs does Okizu offer?

A: Camp Okizu offers Family Camp, Oncology Camp, SIBS (Special and Important Brothers and Sisters) Camp, Teens-N-Twenties, and Bereaved Teen Weekends.

Q: Where is Camp Okizu?

A: Camp Okizu is located in Berry Creek, California. Berry Creek is near the town of Oroville and is approximately three to four hours from the Bay Area and approximately two hours from the Sacramento area.

Q: What are the facilities like at Camp Okizu?

A: Our programs are held at our beautiful 500 acre site in Berry Creek. The site is equipped with a 17,000 square foot lodge that houses our state of the art kitchen, dining room, arts and crafts activity area, meeting areas, and administrative offices; four living areas; a health center; and a boat house. The site also has four lakes for swimming, canoeing, and fishing; an amphitheater; an archery range; a ropes course; a Frisbee golf course; a volleyball court; miles of hiking trails; and beautiful grassy areas for playing.

Q: Is Okizu accredited?

A: Yes, Okizu is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). We are also a Children’s Oncology Camping Association International (COCA-I) Gold Ribbon Camp.

Okizu is also a GuideStar Exchange Silver Participant and a GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Nonprofit.

Q: Does Okizu partner with any hospitals?

A: The medical supervision, professional support, and endorsements come from the children’s oncology treatment centers in Northern California. Many of the staff participate throughout the year with the planning and evaluation of camp policies and procedures, as well as volunteer their time at camp. Click here to view a list of participating hospitals.

Q: How much does it cost families to attend Camp Okizu?

A: We do not charge a fee to attend Camp Okizu and families attend all of our programs free of charge. We fundraise throughout the year to make these camping experiences possible, and all help is welcome. Click here for more information about making a donation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Camp

Q: Who can come to Family Camp?

A: Family Camp is open to all members of the immediate family of the patient and children of any age and in any stage of treatment – newly diagnosed, currently on treatment and post-treatment – are all welcome to attend.

Q: What is a typical day at Family Camp?

A: Families arrive at Family Camp on Friday afternoon and evening. We have dinner on Friday, spend some time showing families around camp, and play games.

In the mornings, we have a “parent time” where parents get a chance to sit and talk with other parents facing the challenges of having a child with cancer. During parent time, children are supervised by our volunteers and participate in a variety of games and activities.

In the afternoons, our program activity areas are open, and families can fish, hike, canoe, swim, do crafts, visit the archery range, play on the ropes course, and play games. The evening program varies a little but is likely to include songs and s’mores around the campfire and/or a dance.

Q: What activities are available at Family Camp?

A: At Camp Okizu we have:
• An amphitheater and campfire circle where we sing, dance, and make s’mores
• A challenge/ropes course with a zipline
• Captain T’s lake for canoeing and swimming
• Noni’s Pond for catching fish
• An archery range
• A Frisbee golf course
• A volleyball court
• Miles of hiking trails
• Beautiful grassy areas for playing
• Arts and crafts
• Games

Q: Do I have to participate in all of the activities at Family Camp?

A: All the activities at Family Camp are designed to build community and have fun and no one has to participate in any activity.

Q: What medical care is available during Family Camp?

A: At Family Camp there is a pediatric oncology nurse or doctor and at least one certified first-aider on site at all times during the weekend. We expect that parents will be responsible for their child’s medications and general care, but the doctor or nurse is available for questions and to store meds that require refrigeration and dispose of sharps as necessary. Routine first aid (for scrapes and scratches, bug bites, etc.) is available, but we do not have the full range of medications and equipment during Family Camp weekends that we have during the summer when Oncology Camp is in session.

Q: What happens if there is a medical emergency at Family Camp?

A: At Family Camp, the doctor or nurse and first-aid trained staff will assist with immediate stabilization in the event of an emergency situation, and will call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take the patient to the nearest Emergency Room which is at the Oroville Hospital.

Q: What about germs? Will my family be exposed to germs at Family Camp?

A: Since children who are still on therapy or have recently completed their treatment are at increased risk for infection, we ask that anyone who is ill with a fever, cold, or any other contagious disease to please stay home and not come to camp where they might put others at risk. This includes family members and Okizu staff members. Our programs are offered in an outdoor setting, and there are bacteria and molds naturally occurring in this environment. The risks from this type of exposure should be no greater than with a trip to the local city park, and if your child is cleared to play at the local park or in the school yard by his or her oncology physician, they are safe in the camp setting. We swim and boat in a lake at camp, and some doctors discourage swimming or other water activities for patients with Hickman or Broviac type catheters. Some hospitals allow it if the catheter site is covered with a waterproof dressing prior to the water activity, but you should check with your doctor to be sure.

Q: Where will we sleep while we’re at Family Camp?

A: We have four living areas or “units.” Each unit has three to five decks and each deck has two cabins. The units also have a centrally located bathroom and shower facility. The cabins have lights and electricity and each cabin is equipped with four bunk beds and mattresses. Families provide their own sleeping bags and/or bedding.

Each Family Camp also has a “tent city” and families may opt to bring a tent if they would like more privacy or room to themselves.

Q: Who does the cooking and where are meals served?

A: All meals are prepared by our food service staff in our professional kitchen and are served in the lodge. The 17,000 square foot lodge was built in 2000 and, in addition to housing our dining room and state of the art kitchen, has a fireplace, meeting areas, an arts and crafts activity area, and administrative offices.

Q: Can we bring our own food?

A: We will do all the meal planning, cooking, and cleaning but families with picky eaters or special dietary needs can bring their own food and store it downstairs in the lodge. There is a refrigerator to keep things cold but you will not have access to the kitchen or any cooking appliances. Please only bring food items that do not need to be heated. There is no food allowed in the cabins or living areas as it will attract insects and other unwanted visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions about Oncology and SIBS Camp

Q: Who can come to Oncology and SIBS Camp?

A: Oncology Camp is open to children, ages 6-17, who have or have had pediatric cancer. Children in any stage of treatment – newly diagnosed, currently on treatment, and post-treatment – are all welcome to attend Oncology Camp.

SIBS Camp is open to children, ages 6-17, who have a brother or a sister who has or has had pediatric cancer. Children with siblings in any stage of treatment as well as bereaved siblings are welcome to attend SIBS Camp.

Q: Who will my child live with at Oncology or SIBS Camp?

A: Campers at Oncology and SIBS Camp live with cabin groups. Cabin groups consist of seven to ten campers of the same gender and (roughly) the same age and two or more adult counselors.

Q: Who will my child’s counselor be?

A: The counselors at Camp Okizu are a carefully selected team of qualified adults, selected for their experience and enthusiasm for their work with children. Many of the counselors are university students who are interested in working with children. Others are teachers, nurses, and other professionals who have made it a priority to spend at least one week of their vacation time volunteering at camp.

Q: Where will my child stay at Oncology or SIBS Camp?

A: We have four living areas or “units.” Each unit has three to five decks and each deck houses a cabin group. At Oncology and SIBS Camp, cabin groups sleep outside, under the stars. Mattresses are provided and campers should bring their own sleeping bags and/or bedding. The units also have a centrally located bathroom and shower facility.

Q: What will my child do at Oncology or SIBS Camp?

A: A ton of different stuff! At Camp Okizu we have:
• An amphitheater and campfire circle where we sing, dance, and make s’mores
• A challenge/ropes course with a zipline
• Captain T’s lake for canoeing and swimming
• Noni’s Pond for catching fish
• An archery range
• A Frisbee golf course
• A volleyball court
• Miles of hiking trails
• Beautiful grassy areas for playing
• Arts and crafts
• Games
• Themed meals and activities

Q: What medical care is available during Oncology and SIBS Camp?

A: Dr. Michael Amylon, Medical Director for camping programs, supervises the medical coverage at Camp Okizu. Additionally, health care professionals including doctors, nurses, and social workers from the various hospitals that participate in the Okizu programs volunteer their time to meet the needs of campers throughout the summer.

At least one pediatric oncologist and several pediatric oncology nurses will be present at each Oncology Camp session. Nurses from the treatment centers provide care at the SIBS Camp sessions, with back-up from a pediatrician who is always available by phone. Usually, there is a pediatric oncologist present throughout the SIBS Camp sessions as well. The camp medical staff is able to consult with the hematology/oncology team at campers’ treatment centers at any time if questions arise regarding his/her treatment or condition. These professionals provide continuous supervision of the health care needs of our campers, ensure that medications are given appropriately, and arrange for special procedures such as laboratory tests and transfusions.

Q: What happens if there is a medical emergency at Oncology or SIBS Camp?

A: At Oncology and SIBS Camp, the doctor or nurse and first-aid trained staff will assist with immediate stabilization in the event of an emergency situation, and will call 9-1-1 for an ambulance to take the patient to the nearest Emergency Room which is at the Oroville Hospital.

The Medical Director or his designee will contact parents if there is any significant illness or injury to their child, or any medical need that requires a visit to the local hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teens-N-Twenties

Q: Who can come to Teens-N-Twenties?

A: Teens-N-Twenties (TNT) is open to individuals, ages 18-25, who have or have had cancer or who have a sibling who has or has had cancer.

Q: What will I/my child do at a Teens-N-Twenties program?

A: The TNT program offers older campers weekend-long opportunities to ski, river raft, visit new places, and continue the needed peer support to help them deal with the lasting impact of childhood cancer.

TNT offers four weekend-long trips each year:

In January or February, TNT travels to a snow resort for the day to go tubing, snowboarding and skiing. The rest of the weekend is spent hanging out, eating yummy food, playing pool and games, and participating in a ropes course.

In the spring and in the late fall, TNT hosts weekends at Camp Okizu. The weekends consist of a variety of getting to know you activities, our regular camp activities, lots of games, and plenty of hanging out and movie time in addition to special events and presentations. At the camp weekends, TNTers cook every meal, wash all the dishes and clean up the lodge and kitchen before they leave.

Recent special events and presentations have included a presentation on dog sledding accompanied with sled rides on the flat for campers, a presentation about wildlife rehabilitation (with lots of birds and other animal guests), and lots of themed weekends with silly games and events.

In the fall we also do a city trip. The city trip is an overnight in a Northern California city. We see some of the city sites (sometimes through a scavenger hunt, team puzzle, or activity), do a community service project, go out to dinner, and stay at a local hotel. Recent cities include Monterey Bay, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco.

Roundtrip bus transportation is provided for the snow tip and for the weekends at camp.

Q: How do I sign myself/my child up for TNT?

A: For more information or to sign up for TNT, email enrollment@okizu.org.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Bereavement Programs

Q: What bereavement programs does Okizu offer?

A: Recognizing the specific needs of bereaved families, Okizu offers two Bereaved Family Camps and two weekends for bereaved teens and young adults every year.

Bereaved Family Camps are a chance to get away for a weekend as a family for a few days of fun, relaxation, and support. There are traditional camp activities that family members can enjoy while sharing the camp with other families in a similar situation. Additionally, there is some “parents only” time (while our volunteers supervise the children in a variety of fun and exciting activities) and many group activities as well. Arts and crafts projects that create a “memorial” object are available, as well as a candlelight closing ceremony where each person is afforded the opportunity to share some thoughts. All activities at camp are optional, so families can pick and choose the ones that best meet their needs and wants.

We started the Bereaved Teen Weekends with the recognition that, in their everyday lives, it is so rare for a teenager to meet another teenager who has lost a sibling to cancer. This feeling of being “different” from their friends and classmates can make teens particularly vulnerable to peer pressures and social isolation. The opportunity to bond with a group in their own age range who share the experience of losing a brother or sister to cancer can be extremely healing and is described by the kids themselves as “priceless.” Camp Okizu offers these teens the chance to get away for a weekend with kids their own age who understand what they are going through. They participate in lots of fun activities such as swimming, boating, sport and games, fishing, and high ropes climbing, and they have the opportunity to just hang out. Additionally, participants have the chance to share their stories with other teens who understand and can relate to their feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams.

Bereaved families are also welcome to participate in any of our other Family Camps, in SIBS Camp, and in TNT.

Q: Do I have to participate in all of the activities at Bereaved Family Camp?

A: All the activities at Bereaved Family Camp are designed to build community and have fun and no one has to participate in any activity.

Q: Who can come to a Bereaved Teen Weekend?

A: Bereaved Teen Weekends are open to individuals who are at least 13-years-old, who have experienced the death of their brother or sister to cancer.

Q: What will my child do at a Bereaved Teen Weekend?

A: Participants in the Bereaved Teen Weekends participate in lots of fun activities such as swimming, boating, sport and games, fishing, and high ropes climbing, and they have the opportunity to just hang out. Additionally, participants have the chance to share their stories with other teens who understand and can relate to their feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams.