Camp Moomba is a truly amazing place where youth impacted by HIV have a space to just be! Each year, over 30 volunteers help us make Moomba Magic by volunteering nearly 1500 hours in our winter and summer camp programs and our year-round fundraising efforts!
We're always looking for nurses, group leaders, folks to help get our campers to and from our camp buses, peers to lead cultural opportunities for our Indigenous campers and Black campers and our HIV education programming, and folks to help train our team of volunteers.
Whether you're looking for ways to help from the Lower Mainland, or to spend time on site with our camp programs, let us know below what you are interested in, and we'll be in touch to let you know what comes next!
For folks interested in coming to camp, please note camp days are quite long and very full! In a typical day, volunteers get a short-ish chunk of time to themselves.
Camp has limited cell service and no or limited wifi, depending on our site, and camp is a phone-free space for all our campers. We share sleeping quarters with others at camp, most often, with campers. Some of our sleeping spaces are gendered, while many are not.
Here's some quick information about the roles at camp:
- Camp Nurse - work in a group of two or three nurses! Nurses are responsible for administering medications, including antiretroviral medications, to our campers, as well as assessing the addressing the various bumps, bruises, and wellness needs of our campers! Nurses are part of our Wellness Team, which also includes an Indigenous Elder and our camp directors!
- Group Leaders - work with one or two other group leaders to look after camper's individual needs, support happy group dynamics, and provide campers with the scaffolding they need to have a great time throughout our camp activities!
- HIV Peer Education - is an opportunity for campers to learn about HIV from their peers, whether that by youth living with HIV or who are directly connected to HIV. Where possible, Camp Moomba pays youth living with HIV to lead this education.
- Transpo Support - is like a short road trip with campers! Transportation day is a logistical feat every year, and volunteers help us ensure every camper makes it to our ferry on time! This may include picking up campers within the Lower Mainland and bringing them to or from our bus pick up locations, or meeting campers at the airport and bringing them to join us. This role happens on our first and last days of camp, as well as the Wednesday of our summer camp program which is reserved for Visitor Day!
- Cultural Programming for Black and Indigenous campers - has become a highlight of Moomba! Currently, we have an Indigenous Elder who is part of our wellness team, and we continue to look for other peers to support cultural programming for our campers!
- Camp Training - everyone who volunteers with Camp Moomba gets YouthCO's Core Training, and we are always looking at ways to offer our volunteers more skills and training before camp! Folks who share YouthCO's values and have an area of expertise around working with youth or creating awesome camp programming are welcome to support Moomba by offering pre-camp training!
- Camp Organization - keeping track of camp supplies, and packing these supplies in and out of camp takes a lot of time and dedication! If this is your skill set, please let us know!
If there are other ways you'd like to contribute to Camp Moomba, please check 'something else' and let us know!
Volunteers are encouraged to let us know about access needs as soon as possible so we can make sure we are able to meet the needs of our campers and our team. On a more serious note, everyone who will be working directly with campers is required to complete a criminal record check because of the Criminal Records Review Act. We know that this can be a barrier, and we also know the criminal law punishes those of us living with HIV, those of us who are Black, and those of us who are Indigenous in unjust ways. We will have a conversation about this requirement with you should you be interested in joining us at camp.Become a volunteer
Summer Camp will be taking place from July 14 to July 19 on the Sunshine Coast. This year, Camp Moomba will be open first to youth and volunteers living with HIV from British Columbia, especially those of us outside the Lower Mainland who may not have been able to come to camp before!
Camp Moomba is open to youth who are between 6 and 17 years old, and are living with HIV or have a close family member who is HIV-positive. Campers must be aware of their HIV status and/or the HIV status of their family member to attend. YouthCO, Oak Tree Clinic, and our partners, are available to help support families with disclosure.
Our team of staff and volunteers work hard to create a place that is fun and safe for all campers! We have camper agreements in place about behaviour, photography and videos, and technology and social media. This year, we also have a new agreement about using alcohol, drugs, and vapes while at camp.
We are able to accept up to 40 campers from British Columbia, and a few campers in other parts of Western Canada. We will confirm your spot at camp as soon as possible after we receive your registration!
Camper application forms are available now! These forms indicate camper(s) are interested in, and available to, attend summer camp, taking place from July 14 to July 19, agree to our camp community agreements (same as above), and are aware of the way HIV impacts their families. Application forms must be received by June 1. You can get in touch with us (604-688-1441 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to request that we mail you one of these forms. You can also download a form by clicking here.
For returning campers, we need you to:
- ensure you are up-to-date with changes to our camp agreements about behaviour, photography and videos, and technology and social media
- give us a call, or get in touch for a time we can call you to confirm confidential information about medications, health, and camper birthdates and care card information.
Questions about camp or registration can be directed to Jessica or Sarah at email@example.com or 604-688-1441. We're looking forward to speaking with you about Moomba this summer!!
This article first appeared in Bloodlines Magazine, Issue 15, and was written by Jessica V. To see this article in Bloodlines, visit http://www.red-road.org/downloads/Bloodlines_15.pdf.
I am six years old and my family sits me down and read me Arthur Goes to Camp.
After the book is finished, they ask me, “Jessica, would you like to go to camp like Arthur?” Shaking my head, I respond with a firm no. Several weeks later, I am helping to pack my bag and go through my belongings to know what is mine when I’m at camp. We drive to a place I have never been before and sign in. I make a bracelet and a friend, all before we are loaded onto the school buses and whizzed away for a week at Camp Moomba.
GivingTuesday 2017: let's make #MoombaMagic
Camp Moomba is a life-changing opportunity for 6 -17 year olds living with HIV, and who have a family member living with HIV. Guided by our philosophy of "friends together having fun," campers swim, paddleboard, hike, climb, dance and be their full selves without needing to keep HIV a secret. It is the perfect mix of camp magic and peer education, led by amazing volunteers, a dedicated nursing team, passionate staff, and extremely happy campers.
Each year, we welcome approximately 40 campers from Western Canada at no cost to the families that we work with. We know firsthand that families affected by HIV aren't always able to afford camp programs, and that there are too few places for young people to learn and speak openly about HIV. Bringing this program to life costs $1,200 per camper. The generosity of donors like you make our programming possible.
This GivingTuesday, our goal is to raise $6,000; enough for 5 campers to spend a week with us at camp. Whether you're able to contirbute $5 or $500, your gift will ensure campers can build community, confidence, and connection. Please help us spread the word about GivingTuesday, using the hashtag #MoombaMagic, and consider making a gift to our program today.
To learn more about our past #GivingTuesday campaign, click here.
Ready to vote? Just click here to go directly to the Aviva Community Fund page; search "YouthCO" to find our project.
Flashback to 2012: outbursts of joy erupt as youth from BC to Nova Scotia gather for a week at Camp Moomba. On arrival, they catch up with old friends, meet new campers, chat about most-loved camp traditions, and activities they hope to try for the first time. They have been counting down the days for months. Dedicated volunteers and staff mill about, greeting campers, distributing camper t-shirts, and collecting medications.
It is only by looking at the medications you can tell these campers share more than just excitement for camp. Alongside the usual childhood medications are prescription bottles of HIV medications. Moomba is a place for campers with a personal relationship to HIV, whether they live with the virus themselves or a close family member does. Not every camp is set up to be able to provide support for youth living with HIV: that's why we're here.
Camp Moomba became part of our work at YouthCO in 2015, and this past summer, YouthCO ran camp for the first time! We got the chance to integrate our commitment to peer education, peer support, and indigenizing into the longstanding Moomba family and traditions!
*Tentative dates for Camp Moomba 2020: March 7 & 8, July 12-17.*
Camp Moomba is a peer support and education program for youth living with, and affected by, HIV in British Columbia. It is a lifechanging program where campers (aged 6 - 17) get to spend a week together in a community where HIV doesn’t have to be a secret, and kids can be kids.
Our motto at Camp Moomba is, “friends together having fun.” Led by this philosophy, we blend camp traditions from canoeing to campfire with opportunities for leadership and peer education sessions focused on HIV. Each year, former campers return as volunteer leaders to carry on camp traditions and continue to build their community.
Camp Moomba was first offered in 1998 by the Western Canadian Pediatric AIDS Society, which later became The Moomba Society. In 2015, Moomba merged with YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society to provide ongoing opportunities for youth impacted by HIV after aging out of camp programs. Since 1998, this program has been provided to families at no cost!
Each year, we offer summer and winter camp sessions. At Moomba, youth benefit from a supportive community where we can talk openly about the ways HIV impacts campers' lives. Camper experience and formal research continues to show that creating opportunities for youth living with HIV to connect with their peers has positive impacts on health and wellbeing. This is just one reason that we are proud to offer Camp Moomba.
Camp Moomba is nearly entirely volunteer-run: each year, over 90% of our team volunteers their time throughout our camp session. To volunteer, reach out at http://www.youthco.org/get_involved.
Our programming is made possible thanks to the generosity of individual donors, the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Tung and Shirley Chan "Ji Shen" Fund" held at the Vancouver Foundation and a POSITIVE ACTION community grant from ViiV Healthcare. Our programming and peer education does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of any of these organizations, companies or individuals. We accept donations for this program year round! Donate online today at www.youthco.org/donate or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-688-1441.
For programs for youth who are 18 and up, visit our page of opportunities for youth living with HIV.
Details about upcoming camp programming can be found below!