Current Environment:

The Keeping the Beat Retreat is held once a year for Boston Children’s Hospital patients ages 6 to 17 who have pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). They enjoy a weekend of activities and outdoor adventures suitable to their medical needs, an experience they may not find elsewhere.

The retreat is a magical place where children and teens explore the outdoors, try unique and challenging activities, make friends, and learn about themselves. For more than a decade, these gatherings have been a huge success, and most children look forward to returning each year.

When and where is the retreat held?

The Keeping the Beat Retreat is held over a weekend in September at Camp Burgess & Hayward in Sandwich, Mass. Those new to the retreat or younger children may choose to come for one or both days without committing to sleeping over. We provide transportation from the hospital to Camp Burgess and back.

What is the cost?

Thanks to generous donors, there is no charge for attending. If you’d like to help us raise money for Keeping the Beat, please visit our fundraising page

What happens at the retreat?

We provide children with a wide array of activities and experiences so they can choose their own level of challenge in a safe community environment. We strive to foster growth in each child’s self-confidence, sense of responsibility, understanding of others, and decision-making skills, while helping them enjoy the fun and excitement of the retreat.

Activities include arts and crafts, rock-wall climbing, pick-up ball games, kayaking, swimming, and zip lining. Each family can choose which activities are appropriate for their child, with guidance from the medical team.

Who provides medical supervision?

Doctors and nurses from Boston Children’s electrophysiology team are present the entire weekend to give medications and provide medical supervision. We strive to provide the highest quality experience for children with pacemakers and defibrillators, enabling them to connect with one another and try fun new activities while feeling safe in the care of their medical team. 

How do I register my child?

Keeping the Beat Retreat applications are open to past and present Boston Children’s cardiology patients ages 6 to 17. If your child is interested in attending, please email