the Hole in the Wall Camps
The first Hole in the Wall Camp was founded by Paul Newman in Connecticut in 1988. Since then, Hole in the Wall Camps have spread around the world. With eight Camps operating – five in the US and three in Europe – one under construction in Israel, another two camps currently with provisional status and a program initiative in sub-Saharan Africa, the Hole in the Wall Camps to date have served more than 114,000 children – completely free of charge.
Exciting Growth in Campers Served
This year, more than 15,000 children around the world and another 6,500 family members have experienced the magic of the Hole in the Wall Camps. Our campers are children ages six to 17 with a variety of life-threatening diagnoses that include cancer, HIV, sickle cell anemia, rheumatic diseases, hemophilia, immunodeficiency diseases, and spina bifida. These conditions prevent them from going to a traditional summer camp. At Hole in the Wall Camps, accomplished medical professionals, skilled staff, and committed volunteers create a safe, supportive community that embraces children with the healing power of laughter and challenges them to achieve success they never thought possible.
Our program calendars included summer residential camps as well as weekend sessions throughout the year specifically committed to siblings and families. An important mission of the Camps is to provide respite, hope, and relief from the demands of caregiving and to create a network of families who support one another.
Activities and facilities have been designed so children with disabilities and illnesses can participate in a full range of recreation and fun – from swimming to ropes courses to horseback riding to adaptive skiing – regardless of their condition. At Hole in the Wall Camps, our permanent staff is joined by seasonal summer staff during programs as well as hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers. Together, they are able to ensure the highest quality of care and some serious fun with a ratio of at least one adult to every two children.
Each session takes place under the careful, but unobtrusive, supervision of doctors and nurses with the support of 24-hour, high quality medical facilities. Our infirmaries are staffed by medical professionals and equipped for the full array of treatments for the medical conditions we serve, whether it’s chemotherapy, a dialysis procedure or daily infusions.
Reaching Beyond Boundaries to provide more Healing Opportunities
In fulfilling our commitment to reach more children, we encouraged interested Hole in the Wall Camps to design and implement pilot Hospital Outreach Programs thanks to a generous gift from Hole in the Wall Foundation Trustee Robert Weinstein. These exciting new initiatives seek to bring the hopeful, playful spirit of our mission to children who, because of the severity or fragility of their condition, cannot physically attend camp.
In 2006, Barretstown, Camp Boggy Creek, and The Painted Turtle were granted funding to develop unique, creative and developmentally appropriate activities at the children’s bedside. Modeled after The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s hospital outreach program, these Camps will also seek to have a positive impact on the lives of children in hospital environments as well as introducing the concept of an on-site camp experience to them, their families and the medical community as a future opportunity.
Further extending the reach of our mission, the Association also helped Hole in the Wall Camps to create secure, interactive websites for our campers
allowing them to stay connected with one another
throughout the year. Campers who are staying in hospitals can also utilize the sites to connect with the positive feelings and sense of hope that is generated while at Camp. We are very grateful to the Entertainment Software Association Foundation for funding these virtual communities that allow us to have a truly year-round impact in the lives of children with serious illnesses.