Get to know our program
Camp Kakhamela, named after “the hunt” in a local Aboriginal language, was founded in 1962 by Dr. John Hunt. Since 1993, Camp Kakhamela has enjoyed a partnership with the Greater Vancouver YMCA’s Camp Elphinstone.
Camp Kakhamela takes place on the shores of the Howe Sound on the beautiful Sunshine Coast outside of Gibsons, B.C. The cabins at Camp Kakhamela are situated in two groups – the boys’ side and the girls’ side. Each of these beautiful, rustic cabins is equipped with bunk beds, electric lights and counsellor sleeping quarters.
About the Camp
Campers & Staff
Our junior session accommodates 90 campers per session, ages 7 to 11.
Our senior session accommodates 90 campers per session, ages 12 to 15.
Most of our campers arrive and depart from camp at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal where you will have the opportunity to meet the medical team, your camper’s counsellors and other members of the staff team. We also offer pick-up and drop-off from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). If you require this service, please contact the D-Camps team prior to booking flights.
If these options are not possible for you and your camper, please contact the D-Camps team during your registration process to discuss alternative arrangements.
Counsellors and instructors
The D-Camps team recruits, screens and trains a team of camp staff. The staff team all have standard first aid/CPR and attend a week-long on-site training with a focus on camper care, medical processes and procedures for managing type 1 diabetes.
Many of our staff team live with type 1 diabetes and are living in the cabin group with your camper. Because we provide 24-hour supervision, this creates endless opportunities for your camper to learn from and relate to a young adult role model living with type 1 diabetes.
We are proud of our staff team at Camp Kakhamela and they look forward to meeting you and your camper!
Led by Dr. Brenden Hursh and Dr. Dan Metzger from BC Children’s Hospital, our medical staff team (“Med Team”) is a dedicated, committed group of health-care professionals who understand how important the camp experience is for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes.
There are 30 people on the Med Team at Camp Kakhamela each week. Each cabin group is paired with one group of medical professionals so they have the opportunity to get to know each other well.
Many members of our Med Team work in diabetes management full-time. Others have personal connections to type 1 diabetes and some even live with it.
The Med Team is always on hand for your camper and acts as a great resource, whether your child is newly diagnosed or approaching adulthood. They are a crucial element of the Camp Kakhamela experience.
Campers will have the opportunity to experience many activities on the waterfront at Camp Kakhamela. Activities include: sailing, canoeing, swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing and beach exploring. All activities that take place in the water are led by trained staff and supervised by lifeguards.
There is always something happening on land at Camp Kakhamela! At any time, you might find campers enjoying the high ropes course, climbing wall, various sports, archery and the legendary Ga-Ga Ball (make sure to ask your camper about it when they get home!).
Campers can spend time focusing on arts-based programs like drama games, arts and crafts, talent shows and skit nights and learning about various cultures from around the world.
Outdoor living skills
While at camp, your camper will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature while hiking, day-long canoe trips, shelter-building, orienteering and taking part in campfires.
Every night at Camp Kakhamela, the whole camp community comes together to take part in activities like Capture the Flag and skit nights. Twice a week, everyone at camp gathers around a campfire where we sing songs, see skits and reflect on our time at camp. These campfires are a highlight of the camp experience. Make sure to ask your camper about their favourite song. You might even get to hear it on the trip home!