BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A well-known camp for sick children and their families will build its second site on the east coast of Maryland.
Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp on Tuesday announced plans to open its second location in Queenstown, Md., at the Aspen Institute’s 166-acre former Wye River Conference Center.
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The Aspen Institute, a nonprofit organization for humanistic studies, donates the majority of the property to Hole in the Wall. The property was given to the institute in 1988, so the organization pays it forward.
“Since 1979, the Wye River campus has played an important role in the history of the Aspen Institute. This beautiful and protected site has hosted countless seminars and meetings, some of international significance,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “We are now proud to make a significant portion of this land available to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as their second location. Their mission to bring joy to seriously ill children and their families is inspiring and ensures a wonderful future at the Wye River campus.
The camp was founded in 1988 by legendary actor and entrepreneur Paul Newman to provide “a different kind of healing” to seriously ill children and their families, completely free of charge. The camp, based in Ashford, Connecticut, primarily serves families within a three-hour radius, much like the Maryland location.
Camp said the Maryland location is an ideal location due to its proximity to some of the top pediatric hospitals in the United States, such as the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
The Wye Conference Center has several residential buildings and other conference facilities that will be renovated to give the camp a jumping off point to begin programming.
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“Facilities and all programs will be designed to be family-inclusive so that those most devastated and isolated by serious illnesses, including the rare disease community, can find a caring community of support who understands their unique challenges,” said declared the camp. .
With its year-round programs, the camp serves 20,000 people a year and hopes to bring that impact to Mid-Atlantic.
Lisa Nickerson and her son, Evan Bucklin, visited the camp when her daughter was sick.
“When my daughter passed away, I was also worried about Evan, because emotionally it had such an impact,” Nickerson said.
“It really is a one-of-a-kind experience,” Bucklin said. “It gives you a lot of things that kids of that age, in that environment really need – which are both friendship, an environment where they can have fun…it gave me a feeling of power on my own life.”
Camp construction and renovations are expected to be complete by summer 2023, when programming will begin.
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