Although North Star Reach, the Pinckney summer camp for children with serious and chronic illnesses, has made the difficult decision to cancel its on-site spring and summer camp programs due to COVID-19, its work is as vital as ever, especially during the pandemic. In lieu of on-site activities, the camp is offering Camp-at-Home sessions that include Michigan care packages and a series of online events like campfires designed to build community and help families enjoy a sense of belonging and share their stories with each other. To support families who are unable to connect online, the North Star Reach team makes wellness calls to help ease the sense of isolation and stress families currently are facing. As part of its new Family Support Resource Initiative, North Star Reach has launched a weekly podcast, hosted by Patrick Smith, director of camping, and Mary Ann Fithian, a camper parent and recent addition to the North Star Reach team. Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and other podcast platforms, this weekly talk show supports families by creating a space where they can share resources, coping skills, and navigate the unprecedented challenges together. Last year, the organization, which is part of the Serious Fun Children’s Network founded by actor Paul Newman, provided camping experiences for 864 children with serious illnesses and their family members.
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