Medical Professionals FAQs

Who are we?

Paul Newman started the first camp in the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps in Ashford, Connecticut in 1988. Over the past several years, he expanded that vision by helping to establish camps in New York, Florida, North Carolina, Ireland, France, Africa, Italy and Israel. In 1999, Paul Newman and Page Adler founded The Painted Turtle in Lake Hughes, California. To date, these camps have served over 100,000 children with chronic and life-threatening illness from 34 states and 31 countries.. The Painted Turtle provides these children and their families with an empowering, renewing experience completely free of charge. There are weeklong programs in the summer for children age 7-16 yrs, as well as year-round weekend programs for the entire family.

Camp is a life-changing experience for the children who attend, and it is a powerful and rejuvenating opportunity for the medical staff that cares for them. We welcome health care providers to volunteer their time and skills to participate in making the dream of camp a reality for children with chronic conditions.  Having a dynamic, experienced team of medical professionals at camp provides peace of mind to the campers and families who attend so they can enjoy the experience to the fullest.

Who do we need?

We need the help of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, social workers and more. You need not be an expert in a particular medical condition to participate. All volunteer medical team members must be professionally licensed in California. We prefer staff to have a minimum of one year clinical experience.

How do I get involved?

View the Medical Camp Calendar 2015.  Choose a session you would like to attend then click here to apply in our database. For any questions, please feel free to email or call us using the contact information below.

How long is the volunteer requirement?  You won’t want to leave!

For continuity of care for our campers we prefer that medical volunteers commit to an entire camp session. This can mean a week in the summer or a weekend during the fall or spring. Please inquire if you would like to share a session with a colleague.  Naturally we welcome staff to participate in multiple sessions if they are able!

What is my role? Is this work or play?

The medical team works together to provide care for the campers while at camp. Providing a safe environment is a role all team members share. The Well Shell (camp infirmary) is a 6,000 sq ft, state of the art facility. There is physician support on site at all times during any camp session.

Family camp: Parents remain the primary care providers to their children for medications and treatments but the medical staff is available for any supportive or urgent care needs. There is also opportunity for medical staff to play an educational role for the families. There is shared rotational coverage of the Well Shell (our camp infirmary) and activity areas.

Summer camp: Nurses are assigned a cabin of campers (approximately 10) for the week and are responsible for routine medication administration and care. Nurses and physicians will share rotational coverage in the Well Shell as well as safety coverage at some activity areas. When not performing medical duties, medical personnel are free to be out at play with their campers and cabin staff.  Allied health professionals oversee the campers who have related needs.  For example, our respiratory therapists supervise the nightly routines of campers with respiratory assistive devices and are called on for any respiratory complications of campers in the infirmary. Our goal is to have our medical team out having fun at camp!

Is there an orientation? How will I know what to do?

For summer sessions, we have a fun-filled, one-day orientation each week – medical volunteers must arrive the day prior to camper arrival for orientation.

For family weekends, we ask staff to arrive at 2 pm on Friday for orientation.

You will also receive an information package in the mail two weeks prior to your session. Please read these materials as they answer many questions!!  Our philosophy is that we work as a team and are always available to support one another.

How do I get to camp? Road Trip!!!

If driving, there are directions on our website. If flying in, it is best to arrive at Los Angeles (LAX) or Burbank airports. As long as we know ahead of time, we can provide a shuttle for pick up and drop off from these airport locations.

What do I wear? Daahling, you look maahvelous!

Comfortable camp clothes and footwear! No white coats or scrubs – please don’t appear medical! Feel free to bring costumes or silly hats – it’s camp!!!

Where will I sleep at camp? ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The days are jam packed from sunrise to bedtime! There are private, nicely decorated rooms as well as two bedroom suites for medical staff. Expect to share a room with one other medical volunteer during your stay. There is a private bathroom/shower in each two-bed, climate controlled room. Linens are provided, but some like to bring extra bath towels. Laundry machines are also available on site for your use if needed.

Where do I eat? Yum Yum

All medical staff eats with the campers and camp staff in the dining hall. There are vegetarian and gluten free options available at each meal. We utilize a great deal of organic products and have a “Natural Food Advisory Board.”  If you have very specific dietary needs or restrictions, you may bring your own foods/snacks and will have access to refrigerators and microwaves as needed. Keep in mind that we are a peanut-free and tree nut-free facility.

Will I have computer access? I need to check my email!

There are several computers available in the Well Shell for your use, as well as WiFi for your laptop.

Are there any educational opportunities? I learned so much at camp!

Nurses can earn 20 CEUs by completing a camp education module while attending a summer session.

We are fortunate to have some of the top physician specialists in their field donate their time at camp, who often offer educational sessions for medical team members. Simply working amongst a diverse team of experienced practitioners from California’s top medical centers lends itself to a wonderful educational opportunity!

For more information please feel free to contact:

Michelle Melendez
Clinical Nursing Director
michellem@thepaintedturtle.org
661-724-1768 ext.201

Kathy Reynolds, MD
Medical Director
kathyr@thepaintedturtle.org
661-724-1768 ext. 200