Our History & Mission
Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® was founded in 1982 by a group of caring individuals who dreamed of a place where children who have had their lives devastated by childhood cancer could recapture what being a child is supposed to be. In August of 1982 this dedicated group of parents, doctors, nurses, community leaders and volunteer counselors set off with 60 kids to Calamigos Ranch in Malibu and conducted the first Camp Good Times ever.
Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® programs have grown to provide year-round supportive programs serving families and children impacted by cancer. Camp is offered to any child--from infancy through age 18 who has had cancer or a similar condition OR who has a sibling with one of these diseases, at any stage of illness or treatment--at no cost to their families. By the end of 2007, more than 6,000 campers from 10 states and 8 countries have attended Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times®. Over the years, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® has welcomed children from across the United States and from as far away as England, Israel, and the former Soviet Union and has served as a model for programs throughout this country and abroad. Thousands of children and their families have spent treasured days with us.
Many of our campers now return year after year, some becoming our finest volunteer counselors. We are now building our leadership development programs for these survivors who are wonderful role models for the brave children currently battling this devastating disease.
Originally “Camp Good Times,” we became “Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times®” in June 1984, when McDonald's Operators' Association of Southern California announced they would support the Camp's efforts to provide memorable summer camp experiences for our campers. Ronald McDonald House Charities® as well as local McDonald’s owners and operators contribute generously to the operation of Camp programs.
In 1994, with the purchase of a 60 acre, fully accredited campsite in the mountains near Idyllwild in Riverside County, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® took the first step in fulfilling its dream to create a barrier-free camp designed around the needs of the children we serve.. In 1997, we celebrated our 15th Anniversary with a reunion of 1,600 campers, siblings, parents, counselors, donors and neighbors, and we dedicated Phase I of our new facilities: the Brotman “Med Shed” infirmary complex; the McDonnell Douglas Courtyard; Jackson Pond; and the Bob Chandler Courage Course, a 50-foot tall challenge/ropes course which is fully handicapped accessible.
Currently, the Camp Board of Trustees is in the process of raising the capital funds needed to expand facilities through three phases of construction. Once complete, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® will serve as a model of both a fully accessible campsite and an inclusive special-needs camping program.
Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® is a project of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Southern California, a non-profit corporation founded in 1977 to build the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House®. The Ronald McDonald House provides help, comfort and accommodations for the families of young cancer patients undergoing treatment at nearby children’s hospitals. Additional projects of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California include the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House, Orange County Ronald McDonald House, Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House, Long Beach Ronald McDonld House. Pasadena Ronald McDonald House, and the soon-to-be-built Long Beach Ronald McDonald House.
Whatever the prognosis, a cancer diagnosis interrupts childhood and hinders the experiences that lead to normal child development. At Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times®, these boys and girls recapture the hope, enthusiasm, and love of adventure that are essential parts of their youth. They blossom in the medically and psychologically safe environment that has been created especially for them.
Nothing can compensate for the anguish that childhood cancer inflicts, but Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times®, with the dreams it inspires, comes close. Because of generous friends, patients are able to spend time at Camp throughout the year cost-free. We are proud of what we have accomplished since 1982, and we look toward the challenges of the future with enthusiasm.