Founded in 1984, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta was established through the efforts of Ted and Debby Kessler to recreate the mind and body healing experiences their son Todd, had received at a cancer camp in New York State. At the very beginning Camp was just a great idea without a name. While in the Pediatric Oncology Unit at the hospital discussing the possibility of a camp where "kids with cancer" can just be "kids", one of the children still too young to attend exclaimed in frustration "but I want a camp to come ta!". The name was perfect, and eventually she did get her "Camp Ta-Kum-Ta". Today, she is one of the many survivors volunteering on staff!
Each year Camp Ta-Kum-Ta tries to squeeze in as many life experiences and memories as possible into one magical week. Along with traditional camp activities such as swimming, athletics, ropes course, and arts & crafts, Ta-Kum-Ta offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as rock climbing expeditions, hot-air balloon rides, formal dances, and lake cruises. For 24 years Camp Ta-Kum-Ta took place in August at Camp Holy Cross on the shores of Malletts Bay, Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont.
In early 2008 the T-K-T Board of Directors learned that the facility would no longer be made available as a campsite. A search began for a new, permanent home. In August of 2008, it was announced that Camp Ta-Kum-Ta would move to the former Willey Farm in the Town of South Hero, Vermont in the Lake Champlain Islands. There, a new camp is being built from scratch. Although told by many that Vermont just wasn't big enough to sustain such a camp, Ted and Debby went ahead with it anyway. Thanks to the support of the community, some 120 staff volunteers, and leadership from a seven member Board of Directors, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta has expanded from it's one week summer camp to offering programs year round. Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is independent and self-sustaining, financed completely through private donations and fundraising. With an all-volunteer staff of 70, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta accepts all of its children tuition-free.