History & Mission

70's CampersMission: Camp Holiday Trails empowers, encourages, and educates children with chronic illnesses, their families, and healthcare professionals through traditional camp programs aimed at personal growth.

A traditional rustic camp at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central VA, Camp Holiday Trails (CHT) incorporated as a nonprofit in 1973 and since that time has provided over 10,000 kids with special health needs the opportunity to experience a positive camp experience.  Our Campers, age 5-17, are welcomed from throughout the United States with the majority coming from the Mid-Atlantic region.

History:  In the mid-1960, three successful pediatricians, Dr. Peter Houck, Dr. Elsa Paulsen and Dr. Robert Selden, all from the University of Virginia, had a vision: a camp for children with special health needs that provided exposure to the outdoor environment with the safety of round the clock medical supervision.  Originally, each physician operated their own camp, and early facilities included local schools, churches and the backyard of a hospital.  In 1973, with considerable community support and 75 acres of land donated by local property owner, David Goodwin, Holiday Trails, Inc. was founded.  The first buildings were built by volunteer hands and by 1974 Camp Holiday Trails became one of the first camps in the region welcoming children with many diverse medical diagnoses.  Camping in cabins, fishing with real worms and learning camp songs – the focus no longer on the illness, but on the child.

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