Life-changing Eagle County camp raising funds |

Life-changing Eagle County camp raising funds

Lauren Glendenning
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Special to the Dailyajon, a Hole in the Wall Camps camper, enjoys some fishing during a recent summer camp. Roundup River Ranch, a local member of Hole in the Wall Camps, will serve children like Dajon who have serious illnesses.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The children’s camp that will show kids with serious illnesses a good time isn’t set to open for another two years, in Eagle County, Colorado but the community has already gotten behind it to make sure it’s a success.

Roundup River Ranch, which will be a member of the late actor Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps, is a local nonprofit that has already raised $16 million for its construction. A lot of that money has been raised locally through gifts and pledges, said Liana Moore, spokeswoman for the organization.

Once it reaches its target of $20 million, construction will start on the 85-acre site near Dotsero.

The reason the camp’s construction costs are high is mostly because of the medical facilities it will have, said Amy Millitti, the camp’s development director. Those facilities are some of the most important features of the camp and donors have stepped up to make sure they’re built, she said.

“The donors are a nice, dynamic group,” Millitti said. “They’re either Colorado residents, or (from) out-of-state who either are retiring here or have a second home here.”

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The Children’s Hospital of Denver is partnering with the camp and will likely refer the majority of campers. The point is to give children a chance to be children, but with the safety of an on-site hospital and medically trained staff.

“To provide children with terminal illness with the opportunity to act like children, and yet have incredibly good medical supervision, is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Beth Slifer, owner of Slifer Designs in Edwards and a Roundup River Ranch board member and donor.

One of the most important aspects of the camp is also the parents of these children, Slifer said. They can have some relief knowing their children are in good hands.

The camp will be completely free for all of the children who attend, even for families who can afford it.

“It’s a gift to the whole family,” Slifer said.

Children with serious illness typically can’t go to a regular children’s sleepaway camp. Some need chemotherapy treatments, some need constant doses of medication and others need emergency medical attention.

“(The camp) is going to serve children ages 7-17 with life-threatening illnesses,” Moore said. “It’s going to provide security and safety, and that’s a really big deal to these parents.”

Children will do the typical Colorado-type summer camp activities, Moore said. From fishing to horseback riding to rafting to arts and crafts, the children will get a well-rounded summer camp experience, she said.

Craig Foley, a Cordillera resident and Roundup River Ranch board member, said he and his wife can’t think of a more compelling children’s-related cause to give their time and money to.

Foley said the economy has created a very different environment for charities, which is why he’s especially happy to help and also surprised at how well the fundraising has gone.

“It speaks to the fact that a lot of people see this as a compelling opportunity,” he said.

After talking to children who have attended other Hole in the Wall Camps, Foley was convinced the camps are positive, life-changing experiences for these children.

“They realize they are not alone,” he said. “It gives them an opportunity to have fun, but also to share their experiences.”

– is a member of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps, which serve children around the world with serious illnesses

– will serve children in the region The Children’s Hospital of Denver also serves, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Texas.

– received a $7 million challenge grant from lead donor Denny Sanford ” he will match all gifts to the camp from the time of his challenge up to $7 million.

– is a licensed child care-organization approved by the state, meaning cash donors qualify for a 50 percent state tax credit as well as a federal income tax deduction.

– is on the Web, at

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