The Camps’ History

1994 The Epilepsy Foundation of the National Capital Area and the Department of Neurology at Children’s National Medical Center develop Camp Great Rock, a camp especially designed for children and teens with epilepsy. The camp is held at a 4-H camp in Upper Marlboro, MD. Camp population: 23 campers

1995 Camp Great Rock moves its campsite to 4-H Center in Front Royal, Virginia.

1997 Camp Great Rock becomes a program within the department of Neurology of Children’s National Medical Center. Camp population grows to 50 teenagers and adults.

1999 Camp Great Rock moves its campsite to Carol-Jean Foundation in Olney, Maryland. Camp Great Rock celebrates its 5th anniversary. Camp population grows to 65 campers, 30 volunteers.

2004 Camp New Friends, a camp for children with neurofibromatosis is developed and attracts children from nine states. Camp population: 25

2005 Camp Connect for children and teens with Tourette syndrome is formed. Children come from four states. Camp population: 25

2005 Super Campers Always, a camp for children and teens with sickle cell anemia, is established. Camp population: 24 campers and teens

2006 Children’s National Medical Center Camps (CNMCC) move to Bishop Claggett Center in Buckeystown, Maryland. Camp population: 75 campers and teens

2007 The camps continue to grow. Camp Great Rock population: 87 campers, teens, and Counselors-In-Training (CITs); Camp New Friends population: 60 campers and teens; Camp Connect population: 45 campers and teens; 50 volunteers are involved

2008 The camps are renamed “Brainy Camps” and a new camp is developed for children with the high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. The Brainy Camps population remains steady due to the lack of facility availability, accessibility and space. Brainy Camps develops a goal to either build or find a permanent campsite that will serve the needs of its campers.

2009 Brainy Camps establishes a partnership with Massanetta Springs Conference and Camp Center and moves its campsite to Massanetta Springs in Harrisonburg, Virginia.Brainy Camps is established as an independent non-profit organization and becomes a subsidiary of Children’s National Medical Center.

2010 Brainy Camps expands to serve children with diabetes and those with pacemakers and ICDs. Brainy Camps hires its first full time employee.

2011 Brainy Camps expands again to include camps for children with congenital heart disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and those at risk for childhood obesity.  Enrollment reaches more than 260 campers and 120 staff, with campers coming from 26 states, China and Costa Rica.

2012 Brainy Camps census reaches 300 campers and 150 volunteers.  Once again, it is time to find a new campsite that will accommodate Brainy Camps expansion and needs.

2013 Brainy Camps moves to a new campsite in High View, WV.  New family camps are added for childhood obesity and diabetes. A retreat for Transitional Youth was held at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC.

2014 Brainy Camps census reaches 423 campers with 125 volunteers, including 14 physicians and 16 nurses.  A one-day family camp for childhood obesity was held at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC.

2015 Brainy Camps enters into a long term contract with Timber Ridge Camp in High View, WV.  A separate camp for transitional youth was added this summer.   Our 20-year reunion took place at our campsite in May, the highlight being the grand opening of the new Helmsley Wellness Center.  We also kicked off our online support groups with two for children with epilepsy, one for kids with high functioning autism and a couple of parent groups.

2016 The grand opening of the Sasha Stavins Finish Line Center took place in June, 2016.  We began the roll out of our new name, The Bear Camps of Children’s National.

2017 Brainy Camps added a camp for children with hydrocephalus.  We began calling ourselves Brainy Camps of Children’s National.