JA Camps

Teen Retreat Parents

We are excited you’re considering sending your child to a JA teen retreat! We want to assist you in preparing your teen for a wonderful experience. Getting ready for camp is an important part of your teen’s overall experience. This preparation time is an opportunity to build excitement and answer questions you may have.

We hope teen retreat will open your child’s eyes to a whole new world. They will get to try new activities, learn transition tools and meet new friends.

What to expect when you send your child to teen retreat:

  • Our juvenile arthritis teen retreats are medically supervised by pediatric rheumatologists, rheumatology nurses or other healthcare professionals who are available on-site, 24 hours a day.
  • Counselors, who often times live with juvenile arthritis and other childhood rheumatic diseases themselves, will look after your teen day and night.
  • Your teen will grow while at camp, in unexpected and wonderful ways.
  • Your teen will try some different, amazing activities.
  • Your teen will learn tools and resources to help them transition into adulthood.

Essential Elegibility Criteria:

Children who attend an Arthritis Foundation teen retreat must meet certain criteria in order to participate. Eligible applicants must:

  • Have a doctor diagnosed childhood rheumatic disease
  • Display behaviors at home and school that allow them to function in an overnight group setting in a way that does not negatively affect other group members (no biting, kicking, displays of defiant behavior, running away, etc.)
  • Be predominantly independent (bathing, dressing, toileting, sleeping through the night, eating, etc.)
  • If the child has a mental health condition, it must have been managed under medical supervision for at least 6 months prior to start of camp start date.
  • If campers have a comorbidity (epilepsy, diabetes, etc.), it must be managed under medical supervision for the at least the last 6 months
  • Have a desire to participate in daily camp activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, etc.
  • Be comfortable with supervision from adults they are unfamiliar with (for example, volunteer counselors, etc.)

Our juvenile arthritis resident camps and teen retreats are medically supervised by pediatric rheumatologists, rheumatology nurses or other healthcare professionals who are available on-site, 24 hours a day. Our medical team has expertise in rheumatology but not other medical or mental health conditions.  Please provide the most detailed information about your child while filling out this application so we can provide a safe environment for your child.  If your child has additional or special needs while at teen retreat, please call us so we can ensure our team can safely care for your child. If your child is not eligible, please consider camps or teen retreats that might be a better fit. Our staff are happy to help recommend an alternative program for your child.

Teen Retreat Activities

Activities vary by teen retreate - some activities may include swimming, high and low ropes course, arts and crafts, fishing and more! Activities may even include things like a campfire or a dance. All the activities are a blast!

Goals of Teen Retreat

Everything we do at teen retreat is done intentionally, and for the benefit of teens with juvenile arthritis and other childhood rheumatic disease. It is our hope that at teen retreat, your child will:

  • Gain a greater understanding of their own diagnosis and treatment
  • Develop peer-to-peer support
  • Increase independence and self-confidence
  • Discover new skills and interests
  • Develop the skills they need to be leaders, advocates and champions in their everyday lives.
“ My son is more responsible for taking his own medication. He does yoga in the morning
to stretch. He has met medical providers and has made friends who know what it is like to
have JA. He is proud of himself and excited that he gets to return to camp.”
- JA Parent