The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, founded by actor Paul Newman in the 1980s, gives seriously ill children a chance to have some fun and build lasting happy memories. This past weekend, a fire devastated the camp.
The camp’s CEO says no one was injured, and no one knows yet how the fire started.
“The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a community devoted to hope and healing. We will get through this in the way that we always have and always will -- as a family,” said James Canton in a statement posted to the organization’s website.
Back in the early 2010s, Cam Greenwood spent a bunch of summers observing Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp credo.
“‘We’re -- raise a little hell and have some fun,’” he told Connecticut Public Radio.
Zip lining, archery, wood shop; these activities were just what Greenwood needed when he was fighting Ewing’s sarcoma. It’s a type of cancer that led to surgery on his pelvis, and it messed up his soccer career.
“People understand that it sucks to be sick, but unless you have been sick, you don’t know what it’s like, so being there and being with kids like you, it’s really impactful on everybody’s life,” said Greenwood.
His gut reaction to the blaze was sorrow. But then he started thinking about one of the buildings that went up in flames -- the art shop -- where one year he went so hard in a paint fight that his scalp was stained red.
“Camp is about the people and the connections you make there,” he said. “Yes, it’s terrible that this camp burned down, but the memories can never be lost.”
Because of his medical history, Greenwood has had to be careful during the pandemic -- but all in all, things have been good for Greenwood. He’s got a new job in his new home near Dallas. And he’s 10 years cancer-free.
As for the camp, officials there say they’ll rebuild. Insurer Travelers and the Connecticut-based Travelers Championship have said they will match up to $1 million in donations to undertake the project.