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Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: AIDS, Cancer, Health, Patient & Family Support, Sports

Mission: Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a community dedicated to providing “a different kind of healing” to seriously ill children and their families through a variety of year-round programs. The Camp delivers fun, friendship and a healthy dose of mischief through its signature summer program and weekend sessions at the Camp facility in Ashford, Conn. as well as outreach to hospitals, clinics and communities across the Northeast. All services are free of charge.

Results: We served 25,000 seriously ill children and their family members in 2013 and expect to increase that number to 30,000 in the coming years.

Target demographics: seriously ill children with cancer, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia and other blood disorders, metabolic disease and mitochondrial disease

Direct beneficiaries per year: 25,000 children and family members

Geographic areas served: northeastern United States and some groups from overseas

Programs: We offer year-round programs for seriously ill children and their families, including our signature summer camp program, weekend programs for campers, families, parents and caregivers.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My mother, grandkids called her Mugga, was the center of our universe and taught all of us the value of family. She suffered with bone cancer for the last 2 years of her life and did it with such grace. She reminded me of my promise to run the NYC Marathon and I agreed. Did not get in the lottery but found The Hole in the Wall Gang. Paul Newman was Mugga's favorite and this charity does amazing work for children. I will forever support this wonderful organization. The team is phenomenal and truly committed to the children they have at the camp and visit throughout the year in the hospital.

Review from #MyGivingStory

Dr Dave

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My family and I have been volunteering here for 15 years. My son started as a camper and for the past two summers has been a Leader in training (LIT I & Ii).
We look forward to our week of volunteering all year long. It's great to be able to help the kids have fun in a safe and loving environment. I'm not sure who gets more out if it, me or the kids. Equal. This is an excellently run camp, with top-notch facilities and staff. Can't wait for my week this summer!
Dr Dave

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered as part of the medical staff for the past 13 years. I've had the pleasure of seeing kids return year after year and telling me that they've looked forward all year long to their week at camp. These children with chronic illnesses get to experience a fun, safe, loving environment in rural Connecticut that lets them play like any other children. Just like the kids, I look forward to my week each year at camp - it is inspiring and motivational! In addition to volunteering my time, I am also a donor . See you at Camp! Dr Dave

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compasion, caring and a whole lot of fun. These are the hallmarks of Hole in the Wall. High standards for facilities, staff training, program as well as camper safety and well being. A place where children with exceptional medical need can be "normal" for a week.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering at THITWGC for 9 seasons. Every year I hope I can get time off from work to go volunteer again. Well structured, well organized, excellent staff training, and use of resources. They do an excellent job of fullfilling their mission statement. My own children were campers here, as well as volunteers and their experiences were life changing. It is clear that the children's needs and happiness are put first.

Hole in The Wall is a glimmer of hope and respite for families struggling with chronically ill children. The only criticism I can give (since you asked for it) is integrating volunteers into the routine of camp. This can be difficult because the full summer staff is such a tight knit group. The effort is clearly there to bring everyone up to speed quickly Frankly, I don't know how anyone could effectly do this, but you ask for a criticism, and if there is some way I'm sure Hole in the Wall will find it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It doesn't get any better than this organization. The wonderful Paul Newman, now happily acting in heaven, gave an immense gift to sick children, their families & everyone involved with this wonderful place.

Ellen20

Client Served

Rating: 5

Chemotherapy may have saved my life, but the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp saved my spirit. I was a very angry eight year-old when my mother brought me to camp for the first time. She jokes that when she picked me up it was like picking up a different kid. The Hole in the Wall is like no other camp on the planet. It lets children who have all kinds of medical difficulties live, play, and celebrate just like normal kids. At camp, each child has a different story but they are all in the same boat. We laughed at doctor jokes, we climbed the rock tower, and we camped out despite our medical regimes. There is so much love in one place, its almost impossible to stay angry. That what makes the Hole in the Wall the most amazing place on earth.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Even though i missed my parents when they left me at the beginning, my counselors really cheered me up and I knew that camp definitely the place for me. We do so many activities with our cabin in the daytime we can go..... horse back riding, do archery, make arts and crafts, go to the wood shop, go swimming, do theater acting, go to sports and rec, go fishing, go into the treehouse, and possibly play tennis or to do mini golfing I feel like camp is part of my family now that I have experienced camp. And it was an extraordinary experience of a lifetime. thats how much I love camp!!!!!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began working at the Hole in the Wall in 2000 and then spent anywhere from a few weeks to an entire summer working there for 6 years. It is one of the most magical places on the planet, an oasis in the middle of the Connecticut woods where kids and their families who are suffering from blood diseases and cancer can rediscover fun. Volunteering there is not easy, but it is GOOD work. And some of the most rewarding time I have spent on this earth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent of two campers, a cancer survivor and a sibling camper. When my son was diagnosed with cancer our who family went into overdrive and began a journey down a road no family should travel. Our family first went to HITWGC for a Family Weekend, and it was the first time we were able to spend time with people "who just get it". Once my children attended camp we saw a huge weight lifted...they finally felt like they had a place to belong. The kids were so happy to spend time with people who cared and understood. My kids are addicted to HITWGC, they would live there if it was allowed. Thank you camp for giving my family a new start.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A long time ago I went to the sibling session at THITWGC and it was amazing, so I went back the next year as a volunteer. My experiences with camp have had a lasting affect in inspiring me to work with seriously ill or disabled people for the rest of my life. Camp has had a giant impact on my family and my sister, in providing a lifetime of experiences and a community that she would not otherwise have. I love camp!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The HTWGC is a magical place! After two summers of volunteering, I can't wait to go back this year. To witness the joy that camp brings to these children has been such a gift to me! The days and nights are filled with opportunities for children to experience activities that they might never have had the chance to try. The staff is AMAZING and filled with boundless energy and enthusiasm for their campers. There is such an atmosphere of love and respect spread throughout camp. In just a short week, I have watched kids become so close within their "cabin" family, learning new things about themselves and their peers. These life lessons are as important a part of camp as the fun that just comes with the whole experience. If you are blessed enough to have the opportunity to come to camp, as a camper, a counselor, or as a volunteer, your life will never be the same!!

1 Nicole18

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has played a huge part in my life. This camp and all that it entails made my family a stronger unit, shaped who I am today and helped me to create relationships with some of the most amazing people in all the world!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first started volunteering 9 years ago, I didn't understand the profound effect that a week at camp could have on the campers served by this great organization. Ordinary summer camp experiences like catching a fish, building a birdhouse, riding a horse, climbing a rock wall, or going swimming may well be out of the question for many of our campers - until they spend a week at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. The Medical Staff, Summer Staff, and volunteers show remarkable resourcefulness so a camper can safely experience all the camp activities that he/she wants. I now have a camper granddaughter who recently summed up her perspective on camp "Everybody here is my friend".

Susan O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am actually both a former volunteer (10 summers and 14 total years, counting off-season programming) and now a camper parent. Needless to say, my love of camp runs both deep and broad. Others have said many of the things that I might have said--about how camp changes kids' lives, about the excellent medical staff, about how well maintained the beautiful facility is and about how thoughtful and intentional the programming for children is. All I can add is this. I took my five year old to camp this weekend. It had been a bad day in kindergarten. She spent the weekend jumping out of her skin with joy. On Monday morning, she told the parent of one of her classmates that she'd been at camp, and the parent asked her what kind of camp it was. Her answer, "the kind of camp where you're a rock star." And that's the crux of what camp is: the kind of place where after just two days, you're a rock star!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am the parent of a first time camper this year. The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp is unbelievable ! It is very hard to put in words all taht camp has done and given my son. It was a place where he didn't feel out of place . A place where no one stared or pointed . It was a place he could be a kid and do all the things his disease takes from him on a daily basis ! Camp is magical ! They transform kids. If they are shy they leave being outgoing ! The staff is AMAZING ! They know how to ease a mom's fears . I have never let ANYONE manage his disease but camp made me feel comfortable. He made friends that will last a life time.
Camp makes each child feel special and that they can conquer the world. It gave them acceptance . A place where they could just be kids not sick kids. That is a priceless gift ! Camp is a a PRICELESS Gift not only to the children but to their families !

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at this year-round camp for seriously ill children as a medical doctor. I find working at the camp very fulfilling and satisfying. The campers are very active. They love to dance at every meal. They develop great friendships with one another and with the staff. With all the adversity these children face in their daily lives, they really value their relationships. They are mature beyond their years because of what they are going through. They appreciate that life is more about relationships than things.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience with camp was a resident physician in 2003...and I have enjoyed the privilege of volunteering since that time. What I always say about my camp experience is that I started volunteering while still in training so that I might become a better doctor...what I soon realized is that camp not only has made me a better doctor but a better person as well. My experiences at Camp Hole in the Wall serve as a constant reminder of what is good in this world...each volunteer, each staff member, each camper bring energy, compassion and kindness making camp one of the greatest places to be.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It had been a long and difficult year of chemotherapy for my seven year old. Then we learned about the Hole in the Wall Gang camp. It turned out to be everything she needed - a place filled with warmth, music, smiles, evenings by the bonfire, friendship, songs, laughter, happiness and love!!! Up until this day my daughter wears her ID bracelet (which used to be purple but now is all faded). She says that means her camp is always near. Her memories of this amazing time do not fade, and she is waiting for the next summer to go back to that wonderful place where children who had to deal with serious illnesses, pain and suffering become happy again! A huge thank you to all those who make it possible!

Maria K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

THITWGC was a place I went to offer... finally I ended up getting sooo much back. Thus I had to go back again and again and again... and every time I had the same feeling: I was always getting back more. THITWGC is a place that brings the best out of everyone: campers, staff and volunteers. I was blessed to have had the camp experience in my life. Now I am 5.000miles away from camp and it has been many years since my last summer there but every single memory is still with me every day of my life helping me in noumerous ways. So... once more... the camp keeps offering me so much more than I have ever had offered. Does that mean that perhaps it's time for me to go back? I send my warmest kisses and thoughts to everyone in CT. Maria, former staff & volunteer (now living in Greece). :)

Kayla B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. It changed my life. Just the first step on campus. You see about the brightest of the brightest smiles all over on these children faces. You find that there are better things in life than just thinking about yourself or worrying about the smaller things in life. When really you could be helping millions of children who just want that normal life like any other kid/teen their age. You could give them that. By giving them that, you could give yourself peace and happiness. Love and Joy. It's changed my life volunteering there as an L.I.T. I was a camper as well. They gave me the most amazing time ever there. I loved giving it back to other children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love this place. Sheer madness and genius. Started as clown, then volunteer who wouldn't leave, I help with galas and fundraisers; I live with the voices of campers in my heart Every Single Day. They touch you in ways you can only experience, not imagine! I've learned so much, and keep learning. The counselors are incredibly gifted; they feed off the kids who "give it right back to you, yeah". Camp has taught me a whole new way to listen to a child, a whole new way to give a rip!