About The Painted Turtle

Founded in 1999 by Paul Newman and Page Adler, the Painted Turtle is one of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, and provides year-round recreational, therapeutic and medically safe camp experiences, filled with laughter, fun and friendship for chronically ill children who would not otherwise ever attend a summer camp.

At The Painted Turtle campers discover the joys of childhood often missed during extended medical treatment, participating in outdoor adventure activities in the security of round-the-clock supervision by top medical professionals and dedicated volunteer counsellors. The medical needs of the children are the top priority, and met in the Well Shell, a bright and colourful facility that has no hint of “hospital”, but expertly manages the needs of those requiring dialysis, tube feeding, home ventilators, central venous catheters.

The children may suffer from severe allergies, arthritis, asthma, severe burns, colitis, Crohn’s disease, haemophilia/thalassemia, kidney disease and transplants, limb abnormalities/deficiencies, liver transplants, muscular dystrophy, Prader-Willi syndrome, primary immunodeficiency diseases, dwarfism, spina bifida. But at camp, with its cabin village, equestrian centre, fishing and boating dock on Turtle Lake, gym, pool, wheelchair accessible adventure ropes course, and organic farm, they are inspired to reach beyond the restrictions of their illness and confines of prolonged courses of treatment to fulfil their potential, build their self-esteem, and develop new self-awareness and confidence to meet the many challenges they face in life.

We are all born intelligent, creative and powerful human beings .. just look at the power and ingenuity of the average two year old. The children who come to the Painted Turtle were born with the same human qualities and potential but their conditions, and often prolonged programmes of medical and surgical treatment, can have prevented them from achieving that potential. At camp they are provided with a safe yet empowering environment that encourages and enables them to break out of the confines of the shell that has restricted their own and the world’s expectations, and reach confidently beyond them, whilst building supportive friendships with peers who have the same medical conditions.

Perhaps the most eloquent description of what The Painted Turtle means to these children was given by a young camper.

“You forget about medicine, clinics, and check-ups. Instead you think about fishing, canoeing and making birdhouses. You think about laughing, singing, and magic tricks. Something magical happens when you drive up to the gate of The Painted Turtle.”

The Painted Turtle is very clear that no child or family will ever pay to attend camp, and it is funded solely through donations, every cent of which is put to wonderful use. There are many ways you can help contribute:

- Here we offer our Loafdom for the Turtle wristbands, magnets, items in our CafePress shop and the Loafdom Direct Store which sells jewellery.
- There is the children’s book “Not so little, Jon” created by the team Meat Loaf led on Celebrity Apprentice (see link below)
- You can download from iTunes USA the collaborative song “Stand in the Storm” recorded by Meat, John Rich, Mark McGrath, and Lil’ John, which benefits all their designated charities (see link below)
- You can send supplies for camp, or make and send quilts, afghans, lap-quilts or turtle pillowcases; each camper returns home with a stuffed turtle pillow and lap quilt or afghan as mementos of their time at The Painted Turtle (details are on their website)

From campers, to volunteers, to visitors .. the words they come away with are ‘magical’ and ‘inspirational’. You can help keep that magic and that inspiration alive for children to whom it means the world, because it enriches theirs immeasurably.

Do visit their website to learn more, and simply close the window to come back to us here.