More than two decades ago, Paul Newman had a vision: imagine if children living with serious illnesses had the chance to simply be children. To just have fun. So he started a camp where kids could, in his words, “raise a little hell.” Today, we continue Paul’s legacy with SeriousFun Children’s Network, a growing global community of independently managed and financed camps and programs. Our dedicated team helps children and their families reach beyond illness to discover joy, confidence and a new world of possibilities—always free of charge.
our founder of fun
Paul Newman is perhaps best known as a Hollywood legend and philanthropist. In fact his 1969 hit film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was the inspiration for the name “The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp” - a reference to 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 the deepest satisfaction from his work in philanthropy. He was especially committed to the thousands of children and their families served by our organization, one of his greatest philanthropic legacies. As our Network of life-changing camps and programs continue to grow around the world, we all remain committed to Paul’s legacy, united around one core belief – that children with serious illnesses deserve the chance to bask in the joy of being a child.
sharing the fun globally
Since 1988, Paul Newman’s vision has evolved from one camp in Connecticut to a global community reaching children from 50 countries, across five continents. In addition to our worldwide camp locations, the development of our Global Partnership Program (GPP) has allowed us to expand our reach to help children in developing countries where the medical and psychosocial needs often exceed the locally, available resources.
Through SeriousFun, the camp experience has been translated around the world, touching the lives of more than 440,000 people in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa since 1988. But we can always do more. And we eagerly look forward to bringing the spirit, strength and laughter of camp to as many children as possible.
how the fun began
It all started in 1988, when Paul Newman opened The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children with serious illnesses in Ashford, CT. His incredible vision of creating a fun, safe environment for children of all circumstances and backgrounds was finally a reality. And the camp became a nurturing home where campers could escape the fear and isolation of their conditions. But that was just the beginning. This remarkable concept sparked a quiet global movement as one camp evolved into 30 camps and programs worldwide and counting.
Designed to create positive, recreational experiences, our programs are purposefully developed to enhance coping and resilience; to foster independence and personal growth; and to help the children reach beyond the limits of their medical conditions. Although campers may only recognize the fun and adventure, every activity is intentional and provides therapeutic benefits to the children's health, their quality of life and their future.
our serious but fun name
In 2012, we changed our name from The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps to SeriousFun Children's Network. Our new identity embodies the root of our work—highlighting Paul Newman's belief that taking fun seriously can make a real difference in the lives of children who need it most.
As we move forward, we remain committed to the cherished Hole in the Wall history that brought us here today. And those core values that all of our camps and programs share remain the same. Because we believe, as Paul did, that every kid deserves the chance to simply be a kid.