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SeriousFun offers free community camps across the United States

Date: 3/13/2013

(Family Features) – Every kid deserves the chance to be a kid – to laugh, play, explore and just have fun. But for kids with serious illnesses, those typical kid experiences can be hard to come by. That's why, in 1988, Paul Newman founded a camp where sick kids could just be kids. Today that vision has grown to become SeriousFun Children's Network, a nonprofit community of camps that let children and their families discover joy and confidence – free of charge.

There are 29 camps and programs across the United States and around the world, including Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Hartford, Conn., and Double H Ranch in Albany, N.Y. Each one is designed to create positive, recreational experiences that help children reach beyond the limits of their medical conditions.

The kids that attend a SeriousFun camp have fun – but they also come away with much more. An ongoing study by the Yale School of Medicine has found that these camp experiences have a profound and long-lasting impact on kids who attend. They are able to build important connections that help them become more resilient and that support their growth in the face of challenges. They get a renewed sense of childhood and a hope for the future.

Kids are cared for by trained staff members and volunteers, and there are also doctors and nurses available to provide medical care during their stay.

Activities and programs are designed to let kids have fun while also challenging them. Activities vary at each camp, but can include archery, arts and crafts, boating, fishing, horses, music, nature and discovery, theatre, climbing walls and zip lines, as well as campfires, carnival nights, scavenger hunts and more.

You can help carry on Paul Newman's legacy of providing children with serious illnesses with a place to really feel like children.

If you know of a child who could benefit from some serious fun like this, or would like to find out how to donate or volunteer, visit

– Courtesy of Family Features