Camp Okizu offers free overnight camping programs for children ages 6 to 17 who have or previously had cancer and for their families. The camp's mission is reflected in the name. Okizu (pronounced oak-EYE'-zoo) comes from the Sioux language and means unity, to come together, heal and make whole. The camp was developed with the cooperation of seven Northern California hospitals, including UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. The programs are held in Berry Creek, which is north of Sacramento, near Oroville.

Oncology Camp

Okizu operates several four-day retreats called Oncology Camp. At the beautiful 500-acre site, children have opportunities to develop independence, build self-esteem and learn new skills. Activities include swimming, boating, archery and crafts, all enriched by the companionship of other campers.

This is a place where children can meet others their age who are going through or have been through the cancer experience, dealing with stresses such as hair loss from chemotherapy, limb amputation or a relapse after remission. For many kids, the anticipation of Oncology Camp helps them through painful treatments and diagnostic procedures.

The camp has specially trained counseling staff to assist kids throughout their stay. During each camping session, a cancer specialist, several nurses and other staff from various hospitals, including UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, participate and provide medical supervision.

Sessions are held from June to August.

Siblings Camp

Childhood cancer affects the entire family. So, in addition to Oncology Camp, Okizu offers a camping experience for children ages 6 to 17 who have or had a sibling with cancer.

Sessions are held from June to August.

Family Camp

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals also hosts a Family Camp weekend. Family Camps, held from May to September, are designed to let families escape the stresses of treatment with a few days of fun and relaxation.

More information

Camp Okizu is made possible through financial support from foundations, community organizations and individual donors. Many doctors and nurses from the seven participating hospitals volunteer to help plan and staff camp activities for more than 600 children a year. Camp sessions are held throughout the summer, at no cost to participating families. Registration takes place from April to August.

Please ask your child's nurse or social worker about registering. You can also contact Camp Okizu directly by calling (415) 382-9083 or at