FAQ Categories

About Camp One Step by Children Oncology Services.

What is the mission of Camp One Step?

We exist to heal scars that no one can see such as fear, isolation, depression, lack of support and no longer fitting in. Through community, support and shared experiences with peers, we deliver happy, pain free medicine called “camp.”


How long has Camp One Step been running programs?

Camp One Step by Children’s Oncology Services, is a leader in providing empowering, supportive, educational and fun experiences for children (5-19) who have been diagnosed with cancer. We are the only local organization to offer 11 different programs throughout the year serving children and families who live in Illinois, Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. Thanks to our 400 annual volunteers, including medical professionals, children who are in different stages of treatment have the ability to attend our One Step Programs. Over the last 39 years our organization has served more than 14,000 campers.

How many Camp One Step programs are there?

From our extremely popular two-week Summer Camp which now serves hundreds of children, to Family and Sibling Camps for family members of children with cancer, to various educational and empowering excursions, we offer a total of 11 camp programs throughout the year. All of our programs are designed to meet the emotional, educational, and support needs of pediatric cancer patients and their families.

If my child is currently going through treatment, can they still attend a program?

The status of a child’s therapy or stage of illness rarely affects their eligibility to participate. In addition to having been diagnosed with cancer, some children participating in our programs have either physical and/or mental challenges. One Step Programs are committed to adapting all activities to meet the needs of each and every camper.

Typically, up to 25% of campers receive chemotherapy or other treatments on-site during their time at the camp from our incredibly dedicated and skilled volunteer doctors and nurses. The majority of other campers are either in active treatment at their local hospital or they have gone into remission.

How much does it cost to attend a program?

Due to the financial burden families experience as a result of income loss from prolonged treatment and hospital stays with their child, as well as out of pocket medical expenses, we set a suggested program fee at a fraction of the actual cost. Although our cost is more than $1,000 in expenses per child, we only ask families to pay up to $100, which our organization partially or completely waives if a family is unable to pay. We are dedicated to welcoming children to our programs and have never turned a participant away due to their financial situation.

Is there an age requirement in order to volunteer?

We require that all of our program volunteers be at least 21 years of age by the start of the program for which they are volunteering.

You mention that Camp One Step is a volunteer driven organization. What does that mean?

We have a small management team that is fortunate to have the support of more than 400 volunteers (including many former campers).  In fact, approximately 30% of camp counselors are former campers themselves. Individuals for all professions and backgrounds. Our volunteer medical staff is made up of doctors and nurses from local area hospitals.

How do I complete an application to volunteer?

Click the name of the program for which you are interested in volunteering for (program list under drop-down menu for “Programs”). If you are a first-time applicant, then you should click “Begin Staff Application”, and if you have completed a staff application prior, then click “Returning”. After you complete your application, you must then log back into Campminder, by following this link: https://onestep.campintouch.com/v2/login.aspx

After you log in, click “Forms and Documents”, and complete the appropriate staff waiver(s) for the program(s) you are interested in.

What kind of screening is done?

After you submit your application and supportive materials, first-time program volunteers will receive an interview. In addition to an interview, applicants must be able to pass a background screening.

If I volunteer for a program, do I have to stay for the entire time?

We do ask that our counselors stay for the entire duration of the program. There are exceptions to Summer Camp, whereas some volunteers will lead what are known as “mini-camps” for one or two days.

Will I receive training to prepare me for my role?

Each program volunteer will receive pertinent information and training, which will be relevant to their role and position for that program. In addition to this, you may receive information about mandatory online webinar training, as appropriate to your role.

You mention webinar training, what is that?

Webinar training is a tool that we use to educate and prepare volunteers. It serves the dual purpose of both allowing us to present the same, consistent training and information to all applicants and volunteers, regardless of their location. You may complete the training in the comfort of your home.

The other purpose is that it allows us to have the documentation necessary to illustrate that we are training our staff with a regulated set of standards, to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for both our campers and volunteers.

Mandatory training webinars are required once per calendar year. This means that you must complete them once per calendar year, for every year that you choose to volunteer your time.

Are there system requirements to complete webinars?

Yes, you will need a device that has FlashPlayerTM enabled; as it stands, they will not work on the iPad MiniTM platform, as it does not have FlashPlayerTM. You will also need access to the internet.