Innovative Camp Serves Children Who Use Medical Devices

PA Vent Camp offers your child the chance of a lifetime to experience a week without limits at summer camp. It is free to all families and provides much-needed respite for the family knowing their child is in good hands. Just because your child is dependent upon a ventilator or other equipment to breathe does not mean he or she can’t experience all the fun of a traditional summer camp — in the middle of wildlife, fishing, boating and enjoying arts and crafts.

PA Vent Camp, founded in 1993, is a free, five-day, four-night summer camp for kids from 5-18 who are dependent on ventilation, CPAP or BiPAP for all
or part of the day. PA Vent campers also may use a tracheostomy tube, receive nutrition through a tube in their stomach, use a wheelchair, walker or crutches, or rely on other kinds of medical devices to live as independently as possible.

A small group of respiratory therapists started the program with just a handful of campers, determined that equipment and wheelchairs would not prevent them from enjoying a summer camp. Its success is evidenced by its growth: It serves nearly 40 campers each year for the week-long event, as well as adult campers over 21 for a weekend each fall.

All campers can enjoy themselves through planned activities or by having new experiences outside of their day-to-day routine. Campers can fill their week on the grounds of Camp Victory with zip lining, fishing on pedal or pontoon boats, hanging out in a treehouse, visiting the nature center and
enjoying games and activities galore.

PA Vent Camp at a glance:

  • More than 300 campers have attended since its inception.
  • About 125 volunteers are needed each year to reach a one-to-three camper-to-volunteer ratio.
  • More than 350,000 volunteer hours have been donated to PA Vent Camp since 1993.
  • It costs about $2,500 to send each participant to camp, but the camp is FREE for campers and their families.

Camp volunteers are medical and non-medical team members with a dedicated commitment to serving their communities. PA Vent Camp volunteers have a positive, can-do attitude and an abundance of patience and energy for the week they are at camp. Campers need to understand and participate in camp activities, and their medical care plan needs to be carried out in a camp setting. An application and more information are available at