SeriousFun Children’s Network
Roundup River Ranch is proud to be a member of SeriousFun Children’s Network. Founded by Paul Newman, SeriousFun Children’s Network is a growing global community of independently managed and financed camps and programs creating opportunities for children with serious illnesses and their families to reach beyond illness and discover joy, confidence and a new world of possibilities, always free of charge.
The name “SeriousFun” captures Paul Newman’s belief in the power of taking fun seriously for children with serious illness and their families, and was an expression that he liked and used. The name reflects both the “serious” components of impact and outcomes and the “fun” experience provided by camp.
History Rooted in SeriousFun
Hollywood legend and philanthropist Paul Newman founded the first camp, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, in 1988 on the premise that every child should have the chance to experience the life-changing adventures and meaningful friendships that go hand-in-hand with summer camp; where kids could escape the fear, pain, and isolation of their medical conditions, kick back, and – as Paul put it – “raise a little hell.” That concept has grown to now include 30 camps and programs worldwide.
SeriousFun Camps are located in the United States, Europe and Israel, as well as in Africa, Asia, South America and the Carribean. A Support Center, with offices in Westport, Connecticut and New York City, provides technical expertise and professional development to support member camp sustainability, and works to expand the Network with new camps. The Support Center also assists regional, national and transnational donors interested in providing financial support to multiple camps.
Each SeriousFun Camp is an independent, not-for-profit organization dependent upon private funding to serve children at no cost to their families. Programming and facilities have been skillfully adapted to fit different cultures and medical conditions and every attempt is made to be inclusive and accessible. Through its Global Partnership Program, SeriousFun works in collaboration with other international organizations to deliver the camp experience to children with illness in more remote parts of the world.
SeriousFun Camps serve children living with more than 50 different types of medical conditions, including cancer, HIV, blood disorders, heart diseases and severe asthma. Through intentional programming delivered at camp and through outreach programs, children are helped to reach beyond the barriers of their conditions to build connections and foster resilience.
The Impact of SeriousFun
Since the first camp was founded in 1988, camps and programs have served more than 732,300 children and families from over 50 countries and on five continents. Camps and programs served more than 127,000 children and families dealing with serious illness in 2015.
A 2014-2015 evaluation of SeriousFun parents and children by the Yale School of Medicine indicates that children with serious illness who attend camp showed improved confidence, higher self-esteem, a greater sense of independence and increased interest in social activities. The study also revealed that children’s stress related to their illness decreased as a result of the camp experience. The results provide scientific support to what camps have perceived for years.
About the Founder of SeriousFun
Paul Newman is perhaps best known as a Hollywood legend and philanthropist of extraordinary fame. In fact his 1969 hit film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was the inspiration for the name “Hole in the Wall Camp” from the movie’s Hole in the Wall Gang. Despite his celebrity, Paul Newman did everything possible to live his life as an ordinary person and derived deepest sat- isfaction from his quiet work in philanthropy. He was especially committed to the thousands of children served by the SeriousFun Children’s Network, one of his greatest philanthropic legacies, because his camps were places where kids could escape the fear, pain, and isolation of their conditions, kick back, and – as Paul put it – “raise a little hell.”
Roundup River Ranch Affiliation with SeriousFun
While Roundup River Ranch receives benefits from being a part of the broader network, Roundup River Ranch is a separate 501(c)(3) organization with a dedicated board of directors and staff. The organization is responsible for implementation of camp programming and fundraising to ensure sustainable operations and continued growth.