Summer Camp Stories & Experiences
Forever Grateful for the Opportunity
Hole in the Wall has given me both a physical and spiritual place where I have felt safe, respected and loved for well over half of my life. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to give that to a new generation of campers...I was the only long-term survivor in my chemo class of 18, and Camp was the only place in the world where I saw that kids like me not only survived, but thrived.
— Former camper and counselor Clare
Powerful Energy & Optimism
When I joined Hole in the Wall in 2005 as a volunteer counselor, I was apprehensive about my ability to fit in with such powerful energy and optimism. The image that time conjures is of feeling like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree – kind of scraggly and sad and a long shot to find a place amongst so much beauty and idealism.
I think that Hole in the Wall has made me feel decorated, ornamented by the goodwill, warmth and love that it inevitably hangs on everyone. I felt like I got that caring blanket wrapped around my trunk right at the beginning, and the campers, staff and directors have been wrapping garlands and hanging ornaments on my branches ever since. That’s the way I feel, anyway.
As I reflect on my time there, I feel immensely grateful to be part of such a great endeavor. Camp provides innumerable benefits for the children – for some it is the chance to temporarily escape a medical facility while for all, it is the opportunity to experience the fun of summer camp and the outdoors, coupled with plenty of time to get to know one another. I saw the campers grow and mature over the week; in hindsight, I did too…
One night, in a unit-wide forum, we asked, “If you could open a door to any time and place in the world, what would it be?” One boy answered with the response, “Yesterday, so I could relive camp.” After spending a week volunteering, I now know why.
— Volunteer Jessica
Camp Filled Me
When I came to Camp as a middle schooler, I was terrified, sad and confused. In the midst of medical and emotional turmoil in my household, my sister and I were daily witnesses to the cruelty of illness. When I left Camp, filled, free and a little less drowned by the weights of Jack’s disease, I thought: I will never experience anything like this again.
In 2007, Jack died when he was 10. I went back to Camp that summer, more scared than ever and certainly more fragile than the past. I met campers who had also lost their siblings and shared the stripping, raw sentiment of such an unfair event. My senior camper week filled me, and I left Camp with a realization that I was in none of this alone. I thought: I will never experience anything like this again.
After this summer, I have no words. Once again, I continue to think: I will never experience anything like this ever again.
Magical and Fun
When I came to Camp, I thought it would be just like any other camp that i have volunteered for before. WOW was I completely wrong. This was the best experience and best week i have ever had. Your staff is just so unbelievable and full of energy all the time and caring. It was something I will take with me every day...This Camp is definitely a different kind of camp. I can go on and on.
Put Things in Perspective
I came here to help the campers overcome their hardships, but I'm amazed by how much they helped put my own difficulties in perspective.