Paul Newman's camps continue to nurture kids

What Paul Newman started, so many others are committed to nurturing and growing.

Newman founded the first Hole in the Wall Camp for children facing life-threatening illnesses in 1988. Since then, the concept has grown to encompass 14 camps providing free services to more than 200,000 families a year, in the U.S. and overseas. Newman’s vision was for each camp eventually to become a self-sustaining entity, aligned through the New Haven, Conn.-based Assn. of Hole in the Wall Camps (the moniker, of course, being a nod to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”).

On Thursday, the association will hold its annual fund-raiser at Lincoln Center, featuring perfs from Stevie Wonder, Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp, Lyle Lovett and others. And on Oct. 28, Lou Adler, the champion of California’s Hole in Wall Camp affiliate, will host what promises to be a memorable event at the Wiltern Theater that combines fund-raising for the Painted Turtle Camp with a 35th anniversary celebration of Adler’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Jack Nicholson, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Danny DeVito, Jorge Garcia and Evan Rachel Wood are among the notables lined up for a live “Rocky Horror” perf to be helmed by Kenny Ortega.

The enthusiasm that Hole in the Wall supporters put into raising coin for the cause is a fitting tribute to Newman’s legacy of good works. As any parent knows, nothing makes an impression on a kid quite like a few days at camp.

“Camp is all about the things children can do,” says John Reid, prexy-CEO of the Hole in the Wall association. “And letting them, in (Newman’s) words, ‘kick back, relax and raise a little hell.’ “

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