Camp Braveheart and Camp Teen Beat in the North and South Island

Fun-packed and adventure-filled, Heart Kids NZ Camps are the highlight of the year for many heart children and teens.

Summer camp is a rite of passage. However, many heart children miss out on their school camps because of their conditions or hospital stays.

Our Brave Hearts and Teen Beat camps brings heart children and young teens together for a residential camp. For many, camp is the highlight of the year: a space to be themselves and connect with others who have had similar experiences.

With activities like high ropes, a confidence course, archery and a formidable flying fox, camp provides safe ways for children to challenge themselves and grow.

For some, that means a step outside their comfort zone.

Staff, volunteers and parents talk about a transformation that happens during camp: shy children making a gang of new friends or shedding their rash vests to show off their scars. Conquering fears of heights, water or new situations.

Time at camp contributes to a heart kids physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. They are encouraged to undertake challenges by choice, to explore, take responsibility, and make decisions in a safe environment supported by other young people and adults. All of this has a notable impact on confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Heart kids get to learn about and enhance their own skills and abilities and to benefit from meaningful participation in a community that has a common bond. This develops their social skills, decision-making skills whilst experiencing communal living and great outdoor activities.

There are two camp groupings within each camp, Brave Hearts 8-12 years and Teen Beats 13-17 years. The groups undertake camp activities and challenges together in their age groupings but also have time to connect across the ages which is hugely beneficial for campers as they are able to meet others at different places in their heart journey and provide and receive support and hope from others.

In 2023 Heart Kids NZ camp is being held from 16th – 21st January across two venues, One Big Adventure, Auckland and Woodend Camp, Woodend Christchurch.

North Island heart kids will attend camp in Auckland and South Island heart kids will head to Christchurch. This allows for more heart kids to attend given we have not had a face-to-face camp for two years due to the pandemic.

For camp to be possible and successful we rely on a huge volunteer component which is often made up of previous heart kid camp attendees, our young adult heart kids, adult heart kids, heart kid parents, staff and most importantly a medical team for each camp.

Those that have attended camp talk of camp being one of the most meaningful and fun experiences of their life and frequently seek to attend again.

“When I first came I was this little nine-year-old, just not knowing much. Now I’m here, 13 years old and I’m just growing into myself really well.” Joseph

The magic of camp is a heart child can just be a child and relax as they are with people who get them, they get to be who they are, meet other heart kids, try new activities and challenges in a safe and fun environment with a caring people who understand what it is to be a heart kid.

“I didn’t want to come because I haven’t been before. But since I’ve been here for a couple of days it’s been great: all the fun and friends and all the food.” Leighton

Our hope is that by holding two camps more heart kids and teens can join us and experience the amazing opportunities that camp offers.

Applications for Heart Kids Camp 2023 have now closed.

Camp Stories:


Jono Svendsen

Jono shares his experience as a Heart Kids NZ camp dad.