Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 779–782 | Cite as

Advocacy skills training for young adult cancer survivors: the Young Adult Survivors Conference at Camp Māk-a-Dream

  • B. J. ZebrackEmail author
  • K. C. Oeffinger
  • P. Hou
  • S. Kaplan
Short Communication


Goals of the work

This manuscript reports on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the Young Adult Survivor Conference (YASC)—a 4-day retreat designed to provide an educational and support experience for cancer survivors diagnosed as children, adolescents, and young adults. The goals of the program were to address issues of survivorship, provide cancer education and tools for self-advocacy, and build bridges of support among young adult cancer survivors who may be experiencing similar journeys through life.

The program

YASC was designed to offer advocacy skills specific to participants’ needs. Workshops focused on understanding late effects, mentoring and communication, tips for starting peer support programs and networks, and opportunities for offering public testimony and involvement in public policy.


Program evaluation indicated that participants achieved personal goals and expectations for having fun, meeting other survivors, understanding more about their cancer and potential late effects, and learning about how to tell their story so that it will help others.


Involvement with peers who have shared a similar experience provided participants an opportunity to address areas of concern such as coping with uncertainty, dependency vs autonomy, social exclusion, body image, intimacy, sexuality and fertility, and career options. Participation in programs such as the YASC offers young survivors opportunities for life experiences that may promote successful achievement of age-appropriate developmental tasks.


Young adults Advocacy Survivors Oncology camps 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Children’s Oncology Camp Foundation and Camp Māk-a-Dream for their cooperation in the preparation of this report and the Lance Armstrong Foundation for their financial support of the 2003 Young Adult Survivors Conference.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Zebrack
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. C. Oeffinger
    • 2
  • P. Hou
    • 1
  • S. Kaplan
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Southern California School of Social WorkLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew York, NYUSA
  3. 3.Children’s Oncology Camp Foundation/Camp Māk-a-DreamMissoulaUSA

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