The Hole in the Wall's Year-round programs offer “a different kind of healing”
By The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp on October 20, 2021
Eleven-year-old Colby first came to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 2019 for a Rare Disease Family Camp and spent four days with his mom enjoying traditional camp activities alongside other families facing similar challenges. From the snake he caught at Boating & Fishing – twice – to the CD he recorded in the music studio – and listened to for 12 hours straight – Colby was excited to try new things and he was looking forward to coming back to Camp the following year.
But in spring 2020, those plans were put on hold. Not only were all in-person Camp activities paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Colby also fell ill and had multiple hospital visits over the course of the year.
“He’s had no energy and has just stayed in his room since February last year,” his mom Janka said. “He really can’t go anywhere.”
Due to the combination of the ongoing pandemic and Colby’s illness, he has been even more isolated than in the past. So, it lifted his spirits when he was able to connect with Hole in the Wall’s CampOut program during a virtual home visit last June. For an hour, he played “Finish the Lyrics” with his mom and Hole in the Wall’s CampOut team. Each player’s Disney music knowledge was challenged, with Colby coming out on top. And the at-home fun continued in the fall when Colby participated in a Camp mailing series and received three different packages filled with fun Camp activities like slime- and drum-making kits.
“He gets so excited when a package arrives,” Janka said. “And it’s so good for him to have these activities that he can do on his own.”
This summer, Colby was especially excited to return to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for a four-day Family Camp where he and his mom enjoyed individualized, podded programming filled with their favorite activities like archery, arts & crafts, and yes – fishing – all modified for COVID-19 safety.
“Colby kept talking about going to Camp and catching another snake,” his mom said. “I can’t even get him to leave his room, so for him to talk about going to Camp is huge. We were so grateful to be back.”
Colby and his mom are one of thousands of families who experience “a different kind of healing” through Hole in the Wall’s year-round programs. Whether at Camp, in hospitals, in camper homes or in local communities, these brave children and their families find joy and a supportive community that understands their unique challenges.
All Hole in the Wall programming is provided at no cost to families, thanks to a caring community of thousands of donors each year who have all made Founder Paul Newman’s dream their own. Whether through a one-time gift, a recurring payroll deduction or monthly gift, these generous friends help provide hope and “a different kind of healing” to children with serious illnesses and their families throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
As Paul Newman once said, “The need is great, and so are the opportunities to make a difference – one smile at a time.”
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