Hole in the Wall Gang Camp benefits from Travelers Championship

More than 160 charities benefit from the Travelers Championship in Cromwell every year as 100 percent of the net proceeds go to charity.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford is one of the charities that benefit.

“Their generosity over all of the years in supporting us has helped us to continue to grow, to expand, to continue to set the bar higher and higher,” said Alan “Pendo” Pender, the camp director at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Pendo added that the camp is now able to serve the entire family through family weekends and sibling camp.

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The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp offers children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses a chance to escape and experience with activities like a horse barn, swimming pool, archery, fishing, boating, a 50-foot climbing wall and a zip line.

The first session of camp begins on Monday with more than 90 kids coming.

“When they come to camp, they’re not defined by their illness. So often, as a direct result of their diagnosis, they lose that element of choice. So, when they come through the gates of camp, one of our goals is to really empower them to make decisions and make choices,” said Pendo.

The children get to choose which programs they want to take part in, even what they want to eat throughout the day, a choice that is often made for them by adults.

The camp also strives to remove any barriers the children may face in their day-to-day lives.

“We remove those barriers, we allow them and set them up to be successful, and they realize that they can do it, and that kind of results in that increased confidence and self-esteem. And so, when they leave the gates of camp and they are faced with another challenging situation, they can reflect back to their time at camp and think, ‘I can do this. I’ve done this before,’” said Pendo.

Mark Rozelle, a volunteer at camp for the last 15 years, has seen it firsthand. He runs the climbing tower, zip line and high ropes course.

“I had a dad, just last week, brought his daughter down. All she wanted to do was get on top of this tower, but she didn’t have the physical ability to climb and so we hooked her up into a hoist. All of her friends pulled her all the way up to the top. We hooked her into a zip line, sent her down, lowered that zip line right into her wheelchair, and she was just over the moon, because she got to do something she always wanted to do, and you could only do it at this camp. So special things happen there every single time I’m there,” said Rozelle.

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