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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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".
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
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.
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). :)
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.