Growing up watching Paul Newman movies, including the beloved Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made later in his career, I was pleasantly surprised to find the actor-turned-philanthropist left more than a film legacy behind. Sure Newman’s Own is a famous non-profit brand giving back to charities in need, but Newman’s Connecticut summer camp was news to me.
Inspired to build The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Newman developed a safe haven and Wild West-inspired camp in 1988 for children living with terminal illnesses. Named for his and Robert Redford’s characters’ gang in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and a nod to their real-life friendship, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and community Newman built provides a safe and fun atmosphere for seriously ill children. Guests and campers experience summer fun, friendship and healing through quintessential summer camp activities.
Located in Ashford, Connecticut, summer camp experiences at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp grounds consist of seven weeklong sessions, including one week dedicated to healthy siblings. Sessions and inclusive activities allow children with serious illnesses to feel like any kid at summer camp — all with professional medical services and attention nearby at all times.
Guests, ages 7–15, ride horses, swim, make crafts, put on performances, dance, play and make friends while diving into a long list of available activities just like traditional camp. Children with limited physical and mental capacities have access to all sorts of programs with subtle medical presence, allowing campers (and parents) ease of mind for health and wellness while kids play and explore, stress free.
In addition to summer camp, the Hole in the Wall Gang offers Change of Pace Experience weekends where parents join in the fun; a Hospital Outreach program where camp counselors bring summer fun to nearby hospitals; and CampOut, delivering camp-themed fun and activities to camper homes and communities. Special parent programs, weekend plans and training courses are also offered for interested families and volunteers.
Check out the long list of options for children, families and helpful volunteers. Bring the kids to a swimming event, picnic party and fun and free summer camp experience — all while knowing their medical needs are met. Summer weather on the East Coast is a fleeting experience, making the carefree time to be a kid at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp all the more special.