Brainy Camps Association (BCA) of Children’s National is a consortium of residential camps, family camps and programs for children with chronic health conditions. The conditions served include high functioning autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome, neurofibromatosis, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, type 1 diabetes, heart disorders, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, and cerebral palsy. We also offer a series of cooking classes for families with children at risk for obesity, family camps for young children with type 1 diabetes, a transitions camp for young adults, online support groups, and leadership training. During the fall and winter, we train teens to serve as peer counselors, giving them the tools to provide support and reduce the social isolation experienced by children with chronic health conditions. Our camps are run in collaboration with many of the healthcare organizations connected to the conditions served. Transportation is available for many of our camps.
In 2009, Brainy Camps Association (BCA) became a subsidiary of Children’s National Health System (CNHS) and was officially established as its own independent non-profit organization, partnering with organizations around the country that serve children with chronic health conditions and offering families much needed respite each summer. In 2012, realizing the opportunities available for training and hands-on experience, BCA was approved as an elective for the CNHS Pediatric Residency Program and medical students from George Washington University.
Our program began over 23 years ago as a single residential camp serving a population of 23 children diagnosed with epilepsy, with 12 volunteers supervising their interactions. Today, we have a consortium of 12 residential camps, serving over 450 campers each summer with an interdisciplinary team of over 100 medical experts, professionals and students offering their time and knowledge to ensure camper safety and enjoyment. Our campers come from all over the US, Puerto Rico and Canada, with a smattering of campers from other countries in the world.