For information regarding 2016 active programs please call the CJCF Camp Office at 410-531-0758
Dear Friends and Supporters:
Camp Friendship, the premier program of Maryland-based Carol Jean Cancer Foundation, Inc. (CJCF), vacated its Laytonsville campgrounds after its 2009 summer operations and will celebrate its 20th year of operation in 2010 at NorthBay, in North East, Maryland. NorthBay, a year-round $33 million facility sponsored by the Erickson Foundation, opened its doors in the summer of 2005, and is a cooperative venture with the Maryland State Departments of Education and Natural Resources. With this move, there is no break in Camp Friendship's services and programs.
The Carol Jean Cancer Foundation was established in 1986 by the Eiserer Family in memory of Carol Jean Eiserer, a Montgomery County, Maryland, school teacher, who died at age 43 of a malignant brain tumor. Its mission is to offer free recreational and support programs to children with cancer and their families throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. CJCF camping programs are supervised by medical personnel, including oncologists and nurses from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.
In 1990, CJCF entered into a 20-year land lease with a privately owned horse farm in Laytonsville, MD, and built the camp facility and home to Camp Friendship on the leased parcel of land, serving nearly 10,000 kids during this time. Over the years, the increasing costs of land rent and maintenance of a first-class facility were draining CJCF's annual funds and threatening its future. Solutions to this problem proved to be unworkable for all involved. CJCF realized that by relocating operations, its camping program could be improved and enlarged for the children in the greater surrounding communities dealing with cancer. The agreement with NorthBay will save thousands of dollars for CJCF yearly, as we will now pay only the cost of the rental period and not the annual ownership expenses previously incurred. Camp Friendship will operate for one week, July 11-16, 2010, welcoming 180-200 children struggling with cancer, and their siblings. NorthBay enables Camp Friendship to accommodate many more children than at the old site. The number of campers attending one week in 2010 will be larger than the combined number of campers who attended in two weeks in 2009 at the Laytonsville campground.
NorthBay, an hour from Baltimore, is on a mile of Chesapeake Bay waterfront in Elk Neck State Park. NorthBay has the experience, space and infrastructure to serve Camp Friendship's growing needs. This new, vast facility offers Camp Friendship the opportunity to enhance, expand and enrich its programs for the increasing number of children diagnosed with cancer. Camp Friendship will now have facilities it never had: a gym, computer lab, photo lab, state-of-the-art amphitheater, heated in-ground pool, a dining hall that seats all campers at one time with an on-site chef preparing meals, recreational center, multiple nature trails and a beautiful waterfront for boating, swimming and tubing.
George Comfort, NorthBay's executive director, says the relationship between NorthBay and the CJCF is a chance for each organization to support the other's mission. "There is a lot to do here at NorthBay, and we are pleased to work with the Carol Jean Cancer Foundation to foster their efforts to let kids be kids and to do what they can and want to do, whether it be swimming, climbing a rock wall or taking a morning walk on the beach." He continues, "We want to foster a long-term partnership with CJCF. There's a future here for Camp Friendship and NorthBay and the children we both serve."
CJCF receives no federal, state, or local government grants. Monetary and in-kind donations and volunteer effort have allowed it to charge only a $35 administrative fee for a child's full week away. The camp and foundation have won media accolades, national awards and the devotion of constituent families, donors and volunteers. CJCF is also pleased to announce that their camp buildings at the Laytonsville site were removed and reconstructed at other nonprofit organizations' sites. A camp sale was held in September 2009 for everything from playground equipment and fencing to boats, picnic tables, golf carts and landscaping components.
Camp Friendship "allows the families to have a safe, fun haven from the burden of their children's health issues," said Joan Marasciulo, RN, clinical manager of pediatric hematology/oncology at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. "It's wonderful to see the children playing, interacting with kids they've known for years or just met, and forgetting for a while that they are any different from their peers. I look forward with excitement to my week as much as the children do."
"It's really a moving experience. It's hard to put into words. It's an experience that really changes your life," says Debbie Lafond, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Oncology at Children' s National Medical Center, Washington, DC. Lafond goes on to say, "The camp helps these kids feel special - special for being themselves, not special because they have cancer. Everyone agrees that is what makes Camp Friendship special."
"Since its inception, CJCF has been blessed to have spent 19 magical years in Laytonsville, Maryland. The families, children, staff and countless volunteers have created a feeling of love, compassion and friendship that know no boundaries or home. These feelings are carried with all of us each and every day when we think about the memories made over the years. While we are saddened to be leaving such a wonderful location, it is with great anticipation, hope and renewed energy that we look towards our future at NorthBay," says Thomas Gough, Camp Friendship's Director of Camp Programs and Operations.
I believe that cancer is one of the worst things that can happen to a child and family. It can also teach the simple truth that every moment is something to cherish. The time spent at Camp Friendship (and other CJCF camping programs) is a treasure a child will cherish forever - no matter where the campgrounds are located.
The catchphrase for Camp Friendship at NorthBay in 2010 and beyond might be "Bigger, Better and Newer!" Camp Friendship at NorthBay provides a high-adventure camping environment for kids with cancer to spend a week just being kids --- a fitting tribute to a physical education teacher who inspired so many people.
Your friendship for so many years has been invaluable and you have our heartfelt appreciation. It is support like yours that has enabled CJCF to continue its mission, and it is hoped that CJCF can receive your support again for the 2010 Camp Friendship program.
Sincerely,Beverly Eiserer Gough
P.S. Did you know? During CJCF's entire operating period, a remarkable average of 90% of every dollar has gone directly to funding program operations. This average is based on Form 990 filings.Business Office: