Although Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is just one film on the long list of successful movies Paul Newman has starred in over his acting career, his time as Butch Cassidy has held a special place in his heart across many years. This fact became evident to the public upon his founding of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for Seriously Ill Children in the Summer of 1988. The link above takes you to the New York Times article written by Daniel Hatch reporting on the camp’s preparation for opening.
The first Hole in the Wall Gang Camp opened in Ashford Connecticut, but since them, several other camp locations have opened across the country. According to Jeffery Glick, the first executive director of the camp, the camp was founded to give ill children a chance to experience camp-life like other kids their age. Children accepted to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp are frequently kids who have “only left home to go to the hospital.” At the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, children will be able to get the medical attention they need from an “infirmary that is set back and unobtrusive” while being able to participate in activities like “swimming, boating and leatherwork.”
Though reluctant to take credit for coming up with the idea on his own, when Paul Newman decided to create this type of camp, it was his goal to create an environment in which “these children can enjoy life and make life worth fighting for.” The funding for the camp comes partly from private donations, but primarily from the profits of Newman’s Own line of food products also initiated by Paul Newman. As the primary financial supporter of the camp, Newman pushed the “Hole in the Wall Gang” as the name for his camp as well as its central theme. The results of this desire are apparent to anyone observing the “turn-of-the-century lumber camp” that has been carefully constructed for the children. For his campers, Newman wanted to “avoid a sense of institution” – a feeling they knew all to well – by making sure the entire campground felt organic and real. In this way, Newman succeeded in capturing the love of wilderness and freedom enjoyed by the members of the Hole in the Wall Gang depicted in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The opening of his camp turned out to be a huge success and has been growing ever since.
< To learn more about the nature of this camp or how you can help to keep it running, visit http://www.holeinthewallgang.org>