North Star Reach is a member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded in 1988 by Paul Newman. North Star Reach is the ninth camp in the U.S. and benefits from the organizational strength and resources provided by 30 SeriousFun camps and programs worldwide.
Each year there are many children who are unable to attend regular summer camp due to serious medical conditions. A needs assessment conducted in 2008 confirmed there are more than 75,000 children in the Great Lakes Region (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada) with serious and life-threatening illnesses (cardiology, gastroenterology, blood disorders, cancer, burns, organ transplants, ventilator dependence) that are eligible to attend North Star Reach. Currently, less than 10% of these children have an opportunity to attend summer camp and for some no programming exists at all. A health center staffed by nurses, physicians and other medical professionals allows children with complex medical needs to come to camp, often for the first time.
Campers at North Star Reach experience all of the fun, joy and independence that all children receive at camp and appreciate a rare sense of normalcy. Campers leave with improved self- esteem, restored childhood and a sense of accomplishment at attempting challenges in an environment that provides physical, emotional and medical support and supervision. Campers, staff and volunteers are all impacted in a positive way by the camp experience. Additionally, parents have a much-needed opportunity for respite and many report that their children return from camp with a new sense of autonomy and independence.
North Star Reach is designed to support the campers’ authentic camp experience and Jan K. Culbertson, senior principal, A3C – Collaborative Architecture, AIA, LEED BD+C, chose to use a variety of Tarkett, Johnsonite and Tandus Centiva products throughout the camp to achieve that authentic camp experience. “Each building has a unique function and the flooring materials selected needed to be durable, easy to clean, compliment the rustic design, and be environmentally responsible.” She said. “As a camp, a lot of dirt and sand gets tracked in the buildings, so durability is important,” Culbertson said. “Campers and staff maintain their own spaces, so cleaning and maintenance needed to be simple. The camp is financed through donations and grants, so products with a reasonable first cost and long life are important.” Tarkett donated all of the materials including the adhesives and this donation enabled North Star Reach to install durable and attractive products that will enhance the camp experience for many years to come.
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