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1300 4th Street
Suite 300

Santa Monica

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Programs: The Painted Turtle can be a powerful intervention for children who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The camp’s week-long summer sessions and year-round weekends help seriously ill children gain the knowledge, skills, and support they need to lead healthier, happier lives.

Through scheduled visits to the Well Shell (the camp’s medical center), evening cabin chats, and spontaneous “teachable moments,” campers develop greater coping strategies, learn medical self-care techniques, and increase their medical compliance through intentional programming. Campers’ participation in adaptive physical activities such as horseback riding, swimming, and the high-ropes adventure course, helps them build greater confidence, self-esteem, and trust in their bodies. The Painted Turtle’s arts and crafts, performing arts, and nature programs provide campers with avenues for self-expression, creativity, and exploration.

Similar to the summer camp sessions, The Painted Turtle’s Family Weekends are designed to meet the unique needs of families with children who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses. These overnight weekends offer families respite from the stress of caring for a chronically ill child and give the whole family an opportunity to reconnect and recharge in a safe and beautiful environment. 

During their time at The Painted Turtle they also get to connect with, and gain support from, others who are dealing with a similar situation. Throughout the weekends children and parents participate in educational, recreational, and community building activities. 

The Painted Turtle operates nine program areas which include aquatics, archery, arts and crafts and woodshop, boating and fishing, creative and performing arts, equestrian, fun and games, nature and discovery, and a ropes adventure course.

The Painted Turtle Camp, located in Lake Hughes, 60 miles north of metropolitan Los Angeles, encompasses 173 acres with a 23-acre bass lake. The camp offers weeklong, disease-specific programs to hundreds of children ages 7 to 16 during the summer. Throughout the rest of the year, The Painted Turtle hosts chronically ill children and their families for weekend programs. Each of these opportunities allow us to offer children and families challenged by chronic and life-threatening illnesses with the chance to learn new strategies of medical self-care, increase their self-confidence, build supportive friendships with peers who have the same disease, and have some good old-fashioned fun. Camp allows these children to regain some of their childhood that has been lost to illness and learn a bit more about how best to cope with their illness.


The Painted Turtle’s mission is to provide a year-round, life-changing environment and authentic camp experience for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The Painted Turtle supports children’s medical needs, inspires them to reach beyond their illnesses, and provides care, education and respite for their families. All campers and families attend free of charge.

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We are proud to support The Painted Turtle’s innovative camp programs for families and children with more than 30 medical conditions. These fun summer and family weekend camp-based programs are provided at no cost to the participants. It’s our honor to support them in their fundraising efforts... more »
They say that Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth. Not so. Just ask anybody who has spent anytime in any capacity at the Painted Turtle Camp. It doesn't matter if you are a camper,volunteer,staff, family of a camper or a visiter of the yearly open house. You will walk away a changed person. ... more »
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