The Medical Program

The Painted Turtle serves children from California and across the US who are coping with many types of chronic disease conditions including asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s and colitis, hemophilia, kidney and liver disease and transplant, Primary Immune Deficiency Disease, metabolic and genetic conditions, and skeletal dysplasia. Our goal is to provide an exhilarating, challenging, and nurturing camp experience through which children gain a greater sense of independence, self-esteem and self-reliance. The Painted Turtle aspires to maximize the therapeutic impact of camp with a state-of-the-art facility and an innovative camp program which integrates peer support and outdoor adventure with high quality medical care, supervision and education.

While constant awareness is given to the medical needs of our campers, The Painted Turtle has intentionally set out to remove any hint of a medical presence.

When campers visit the medical clinic at camp, called The Well Shell, they will find colorful walls, windows overlooking the sparkling lake, and a giant domed turtle shell overhead with monkeys hanging from the ceiling.

In the Well Shell, our full-time Medical Staff is joined each session by volunteer medical professionals who generously commit their time and talents to help care for these special kids around the clock.

To learn more about joining our medical team as a staff member or volunteer, please visit our page for Medical Professionals.


The Well Shell

The Painted Turtle’s medical clinic is known as the Well Shell. It is a 6,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility fully equipped for necessary routine and emergency procedures, disguised as a fun camp space. It has a comfortable waiting room, large medical room, 4 treatment rooms, two rooms for overnight and prolonged stays, as well as 6 hemodialysis stations with beautiful views of the lake and trees outside. You’ll find its roof is in the shape of a round shell and its interior walls are decorated with natural textures and soothing ocean colors.

The treatment rooms are decorated with floor-to-ceiling murals which give the feeling that you are transported into another world.

View the Well Shell gallery


  • “Thank you for one of the best weeks of my life… I came with my doubts about my first time at a camp, but as I left that night I couldn’t have felt more satisfied or overjoyed by my experience”
  • “I haven’t seen my son this happy since we have come into the hospital…it is awesome to see him smiling and acting like himself again.”
    -Parent, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • “My daughter told me tonight that Camp is the only place she feels that she’s ever been able to be herself… It’s the only place she’s been where people just accept her for who she is.  It’s the only place she’s been where all of the activities are designed for her to be able to do.  She doesn’t have to sit anything out. She’s part of it all.”
    -Camper Parent
  • “Can I take a picture with my fish & fishing pole in front of the backdrop? I want to prove to my friends that I went fishing in the hospital…they’ll never believe me.”
    -Child, age 10, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
  • “Yay, I’m so glad you’re here today. I have The Painted Turtle Outpost on my calendar with gold stars all around it!”
    -Child Life Specialist, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital