Camp Quality

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Camp Quality
Founded 1983
Founder Vera Entwistle
Focus Cancer
Origins Sydney, Australia
Area served
Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA

Camp Quality is a children’s family cancer charity that believes in bringing optimism and happiness to the lives of children and families affected by cancer through fun therapy and education. They believe laughter is the best medicine.


The first Camp Quality was established by Vera Entwistle in 1983 in Sydney, Australia. Entwistle aimed to provide children living with cancer and their families with a support network. She chose the name for the organisation after a paediatric oncologist told her "No one can do anything about the quantity of life, but we all can do something about the quality." The first camp was held in Vision Valley, NSW and was attended by 38 children and supported by 38 volunteers.[1]

Entwistle later introduced Camp Quality to several countries, including her home country, the United States. The first USA camp was held the summer of 1986 in Stewartsville, Missouri with 43 campers. Today, Camp Quality USA hosts 15 summer camp programs in 12 states.[2]

In 1988 Camp Quality recognised that the effects of childhood cancer were widespread and implemented an education program to support the wider community. The Camp Quality Puppets were introduced as a free educational program aimed at primary school children. The benefits to the community were instantly felt and in 1989 McDonald’s sponsored the program. The McDonald’s Camp Quality Puppets have now been running for 19 years and reach almost 250,000 primary school children each year.

In 2001 Camp Quality went through a re-branding process to represent the optimism and happiness that Camp Quality was providing for children and their families. The smiling face of Giggle and tag line "Laughter is the Best Medicine" have become well known throughout Australia as the symbol for fun, laughter and support for children living with cancer and their families.

Today Camp Quality supports over 5,000 families each year and has 13 offices, which cover every state and territory in Australia.



Camp Quality Australia is the children’s family cancer charity that believes in bringing optimism and happiness to the lives of children and families affected by cancer through fun therapy and education. They believe laughter is the best medicine.

Camp Quality are building resilience in the lives of children and their families going through the cancer journey by creating an optimistic community through fun therapy. They believe in improving the quality of life for children living with cancer and their families through unrelenting optimism and the healing power of laughter.

Camp Quality runs education, hospital, family assistance and recreation programs to help create fun and supportive communities for children and their families living with cancer.

Through their education program they have helped over 3 million school children and teachers learn about the challenges of living with cancer through uplifting performances jam-packed full of laughter and optimism.

Camp Quality reaches primary school children through the McDonald’s Camp Quality Puppets, who were created 21 years ago to educate children about what it’s like to live with cancer. The puppets help kids learn how to be supportive and understanding of a classmate or family member living with cancer and promote anti-bullying behaviour. Shows have developed to reflect breakthroughs in cancer treatment with language for savvy school children. Kylie, Dean and Melissa show the importance of friendship and it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts. The performance facilitates discussion and encourages children to ask questions in a fun and safe environment.

Written specifically for teenagers, The Teenage Alchemist explores the personal conflicts and inner-crises that emerge as a result of a cancer diagnosis, as Xanthe and Joshua deal with living with cancer in very different ways. The themes are broad reaching and include self-image, negativity, fear, hope, and, most importantly, courage. This edgy play is an opportunity to encourage teenagers to put things into perspective and make positive life choices.

Camp Quality’s hospital program uses Giggle, a remote controlled robot puppet designed to bring fun and laughter to children, parents and staff in oncology wards. Children identify and interact with him through jokes, songs and games. Many children will talk and respond to him in ways that they don’t usually behave while in hospital. Hospital staff often use Giggle to explain treatments to their patients. He leaves a trail of laughter where ever he goes!

Local CQ staff and volunteers regularly visit children in treatment to help spread laughter and optimism. The McDonald’s Camp Quality Puppets, Giggle and a host of other fun therapy activities fill the hospitals with laughter. The investment Camp Quality makes in children’s oncology wards and cancer centres is based on specific needs identified by health professionals in each state. It is a critical part of Camp Quality’s commitment to be there for the entire journey from diagnosis, through treatment and remission.

Camp Quality’s family support program ensures that families living with cancer get the support they need. Living with cancer places enormous physical, emotional and financial stress on the whole family. The family support program is not just recreational or financial, it’s also friendship. As part of Camp Quality’s commitment to supporting families there are times they provide financial support or domestic help.

Camp Quality’s recreation program is designed to provide fun therapy opportunities for cancer to take a back seat so kids can ride waves, ride horses, abseil down cliffs, paddle down rivers and slip down giant waterslides. A day, a weekend or a week in a fun, optimistic environment can make all the difference to a child’s outlook and ability to deal with cancer. Their recreation program is a safe environment for kids to celebrate living. Depending on their age, they can choose from Junior Camp, Main Camp and Senior Camp. They also run mother-daughter and father-son weekends, fishing camps and other themed activities.

Camp Quality’s Family Camps help families take time out from cancer. There’s a host of optional activities for those who want an adventure. If adults need time out, there’s time to chat with other parents while the kids are totally engrossed in a supervised activity. New friendships are forged and everyone leaves with a more optimistic outlook!

In addition to their camps, Camp Quality creates fun days for children living with cancer. They are a ‘day off’ from cancer!

New Zealand[edit]

Camp Quality New Zealand is dedicated to bringing fun, hope and happiness to the lives of children aged 5 to 16 living with cancer, their families and communities, through provision of high quality recreational experiences.

Their goal is to provide fun and comradeship combined with achievable challenges to encourage the children to focus on the positive aspects of their lives.

Camp Quality New Zealand passionately believes in the power of fun to help children and their families overcome the challenges that cancer brings.

Each year they run week long residential programmes in five locations throughout New Zealand, including Auckland/Northland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wellington/Central Districts, Christchurch & South (from Stewart Island north to the Rakaia River). They strive to provide a safe and secure environment involving one-on-one support from Companions and by the provision of committed, well trained staff on all of their camping activities.

They are committed to a high standard of excellence in training their volunteers and in organising their activities.



Camp Quality USA, Inc. is a nonprofit organisation that serves pediatric cancer patients and their families by providing year-round programs, experiences and companionship at no cost.[3]

There are presently 15 U.S. Camp Quality summer camp sessions established in 12 states. More than 900 children participate in the summer camps annually and more participate in Camp Quality activities throughout the year.


  1. ^ "Our History". Camp Quality Australia. 
  2. ^ "About Us > History". Camp Quality USA. 
  3. ^ "Heelys Announces Winner of Its 10/10/10 Charitable Challenge: $101,010 Worth of Heelys for Camp Quality USA". Wall Street Journal. December 21, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 

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