By Matty Cook, MSW

Chief Program Officer

Camp Korey serves a clear and noble mission and its potential for positively impacting the lives of children and families dealing with serious illness and medical conditions is unlimited. When Paul Newman was speaking at the dedication of the first Camp in the SeriousFun Children’s Network back in 1988 he made a prophetic statement:

In the end, I guess we’ll be as successful as the community makes us. -Paul Newman

Our ability to meet the needs of our Campers is dependent on the generosity of those who understand why our mission is so vital.  Not everyone has lived the fear and hardship of dealing with a serious illness or medical condition. Some of us are lucky enough not to know the daily perdition of medications and hospital trips. Not everyone can know, but everyone can care, and some are even able to help alleviate the long-term psychosocial and emotional effects of childhood illness by partnering with us at Camp Korey. Maybe that’s you?

It’s up to our staff here at Camp to help you understand the “Why.”  To shed light on the real impact of childhood illness and to explain the devastating effects of living with a life-altering medical condition either personally or that of your child or your sibling.

Read on to discover the “Why” that I mentioned above:

Camp Korey exists because when children are born or diagnosed with a life-altering medical condition, their “typical” childhood development is completely upended. And the entire family is also deeply impacted.

Medical issues and stressors often result in limitations for the entire family. This affects emotions, development, relationships, and more. As a result of medical stressors, many experience:

  • Isolation
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty developing independence
  • Difficulty in a school environment
  • Feeling different and disconnected

This is where Camp Korey fits in and the impact of our donors is felt. The camp experience changes lives!

Our campers took part in a special survey in 2021 to determine just how the camp experience has help ease the impact. The report can be found here.

The SeriousFun Children’s Network, in partnership with the American Institute for Research, surveyed more than 2,200 alumni of SeriousFun camps, including Camp Korey.

Alumni campers were asked what personal, social, and health related outcomes were influenced by their experience at a SeriousFun Camp. The survey participant ages ranged from 17-30 years of age. And they were from eight different counties, including the United States.

The top reported outcomes related to the camp experience included:

  • 90% of former Campers reported an Increased Willingness to Try New Things
  • 88% of former Campers reported an Increased Appreciation of Diversity
  • 86% of former Campers reported Greater Sense of Self-Identity
  • 86% of former Campers reported Increased Capacity for Empathy and Compassion
  • 85% of former Campers reported an Increase in Self-Confidence
  • 84% of former Campers reported an Increased Capacity for Perseverance
  • 82% of former Campers reported an Improvement in Friendship skills

SeriousFun camps were founded and developed to “create opportunities for children and their families to reach beyond serious illness and discover joy, confidence, and a new world of possibilities, always free of charge.”[1] This is why I say without hesitation that the mission is noble.  It matches up with another favorite quote of mine from another smart fella:

The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. -Albert Einstein

Becoming a supporter of Camp Korey means that you become the means to reach beyond serious illness. You become the Joy, Confidence and Possibility! Thank you for making meaning for the children and families we serve.

[1] What Do Alumni Say About the Influence of Attending SeriousFun Camps? The Lasting Impacts of Camp Study. American Institutes for Research (AIR), p. 1.