Heart Institute
Camp Joyful Hearts

Camp Joyful Hearts

Sunday, June 25 - Friday, June 30, 2023

Registration Now Open for 2023

Growing up with heart disease can be a significant physical and emotional challenge. Through Camp Joyful Hearts, the Heart Institute strives to help kids with heart disease overcome these challenges with a support network of kids in similar circumstances.

Camp Joyful Hearts is a residential summer camp for kids and teens with heart disease.

Camp Joyful Hearts offers many exciting camp activities such as swimming, high ropes, campfires, stargazing in our new observatory and much more! All activities are adapted to each child’s abilities. A pediatric cardiologist and cardiac nurses are onsite 24 hours a day.

Camp Joyful Hearts & COVID-19

The Heart Institute team has been working closely with Camp Joy to ensure that we explore all options to offer our campers a safe and enjoyable summer experience. We are looking forward to a week of friends and fun.

  • All eligible Camp Joyful Hearts participants must be fully vaccinated to attend camp in 2023, and provide proof of vaccination before arrival on June 25th, 2023.
  • Each camper will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to arrival and provide proof of this negative test result when they arrive at camp
  • Each Cincinnati Children's employee attending camp will be fully vaccinated

We will be as transparent as possible regarding planning over the coming months, so continue to check the Heart Institute Facebook page for updates. If you have specific questions, e-mail heartcamp@cchmc.org and we will do our best to answer them with the information that we have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Children and teens with congenital or acquired heart disease, ages 8 to 18, may attend Camp Joyful Hearts. Eligible campers are cardiac patients actively being followed by a cardiologist at the Heart Institute or another medical center. Final admittance to camp is based upon review of our medical staff.

Camp Joyful Hearts is held at Joy Outdoor Education Center, 10117 Old 3-C Highway, in Clarksville, OH, approximately 50 minutes from Cincinnati and 75 minutes from Columbus. Easily reached by interstate and state routes, Camp Joy occupies 315 acres of trees, trails, fields and meadows overlooking a river valley. Three handicap-accessible cabins with indoor bathrooms and hot showers will house campers near the air-conditioned dining hall.

Camp Joyful Hearts encourages participation in a variety of activities that help the camper develop skills and a sense of accomplishment. Activities are adapted to each child’s ability and promote the development of new friendships and individual growth. All camp activities are supervised in a safe and nurturing environment. Please keep in mind that many of these activities will need to be modified to due to COVID-19. 

Examples include:

  • Archery
  • Arts and crafts
  • Campfires
  • Cooking
  • Drama
  • Dance
  • Fishing and canoeing
  • Heart Institute education programs
  • High ropes courses
  • Large group games
  • Nature hikes
  • Songs and skits
  • Sports
  • Survival
  • Swimming
  • Team building exercises
To foster camper independence, phone calls are not encouraged during the camp session. Campers may receive mail. In an emergency, you can reach Camp Joy’s on-call phone at 937-725-4036. This is strictly an emergency line.

The camp staff includes a full-time camp director, program specialists, summer cabin counselors and auxiliary staff. The counselors are selected from experienced college-age and older individuals with an interest in working with children who have medical challenges.

A pediatric cardiologist, cardiac nurses and nurse practitioners are on the premises 24 hours a day. Additional members of the Heart Institute staff visit the camp to answer questions, moderate group educational sessions and help the campers understand and deal with health-related problems more effectively. Heart Institute staff members meet with campers’ parents on the first day of camp to review medical orders. Camp personnel adhere to all medical orders and activity recommendations sent by the camper’s physician and discussed with parents.

For more information on Camp Joyful Hearts, please contact Rosie Paulik:

Email: heartcamp@cchmc.org

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