Camp FacilityCamp Ta-Kum-Ta provides challenging, extraordinary experiences in a safe and loving environment for children who have or have had cancer and their families.  Camp exists for Vermont and Northern New York children. (including other out-of-state children who are treated in Vermont), at no cost to their families.

Founded in 1984, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta was established through the efforts of Ted and Debby Kessler to recreate the mind and body healing experiences their son Todd, had received at a cancer camp in New York State.

At the very beginning Camp was just a great idea without a name. While in the Pediatric Oncology Unit at the hospital discussing the possibility of a camp where “kids with cancer” can just be “kids”, one of the children still too young to attend exclaimed in frustration “but I want a camp to come ta!”. The name was perfect, and eventually she did get her “Camp Ta-Kum-Ta”. Today, she is one of the many survivors volunteering on staff!

Each year Camp Ta-Kum-Ta tries to squeeze in as many life experiences and memories as possible into one magical week. Along with traditional camp activities such as swimming, athletics, ropes course, and arts & crafts, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as rock climbing expeditions, hot-air balloon rides, formal dances, and lake cruises.

For 24 years Camp Ta-Kum-Ta took place in August at Camp Holy Cross on the shores of Malletts Bay, Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont. In early 2008 the T-K-T Board of Directors learned that the facility would no longer be made available as a campsite.  A search began for a new, permanent home. In August of 2008, it was announced that Camp Ta-Kum-Ta would move to the former Willey Farm in the Town of South Hero, Vermont in the Lake Champlain Islands. There, a new camp was created.

Founders--about-us-webAlthough told by many that Vermont just wasn’t big enough to sustain such a camp, Ted and Debby went ahead with it anyway. Thanks to the support of the community, some 120 staff volunteers, and leadership from a seven member Board of Directors, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta has expanded from its one week summer camp to offering programs year round.

Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Our programs and services are financed completely through private donations and fund raising. Because of your support and a terrific volunteer staff, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta accepts all of its children tuition-free.


gold ribbon logo- about usCamp Ta-Kum-Ta is a proud member of COCA-I (Children’s Oncology Camping Association, International).  Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is a Gold Ribbon Award Member of COCA-I, an organization whose mission is to strengthen the international community of camps for children with cancer and their families through networking, advocacy, and education.

What does a Gold Ribbon Award mean?

COCA-I examines Camp Ta-Kum-Ta’s rules, regulations, requirements, guidelines and common practices.  The “Suggested COCA-I Guidelines” is an important resource to COCA-I members and following these guidelines are rewarded with a Gold Ribbon. Gold RIbbon AwardTKT- about usThese “Suggested COCA-I Guidelines” are being presented as a completely voluntary set of recommended oncology camp standards.

COCA-I meets annually at a conference hosted by a member camp.

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