Former U-M Camp to Become Oasis for Children with Severe Medical Conditions


The nonprofit North Star Reach will break ground Wednesday for its Pinckney-based summer camp, designed for children with severe and life-threatening medical conditions, such as heart disease, organ transplants, sickle cell disease, and cancer.

“This groundbreaking is a critical milestone in our efforts to bring a camp for children with serious health challenges to the state of Michigan,” says Brian Rooney, co-chair of the capital campaign committee for North Star Reach. “Next year, North Star Reach will welcome children and families like mine to a beautiful camp with facilities and programs that are intentionally designed to accommodate their abilities and medical needs.”

The camp, located on a 105-acre peninsula owned by the University of Michigan and leased to North Star Reach for $1 per year, will include a fully staffed health center that will provide the extra care most of the campers will need. There will also be a dining hall, arts and crafts center, nature trails, athletic court, sports field, an accessible tree house with a zip line, archery range, amphitheater, and waterfront docks.

The camp — a provisional member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded by the late Paul Newman — expects to serve about 1,500 children annually, free of charge.

“Thanks to the ongoing support of the donor community, camp will always be provided free of charge to children and their families,” says Doug Armstrong, founder and CEO of North Star Reach. “Camp will offer a truly supportive environment for these kids; one where all of their medical needs will be met by professional doctors and nurses and one where they can make new friends with peers facing similar challenges.”

Once complete, likely in fall 2015, the camp will be open year-round. There will be a focus on overnight, week-long camp sessions in the summer for children and weekend family camps in the spring and fall. So far, North Star Reach has raised some $20 million as part of its $26-million capital campaign.

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