Stories from around the campfire.

Discover fresh insights from our staff members, friends, and partners.

Under the North Star Special Guests Speak About Camp


Under the North Star – a night of SeriousFun was North Star Reach’s inaugural annual signature gala held on Saturday, June 7th, 2014. We wanted to share with you some thoughtful words from our hosts of the night Jake and Jackie Long, our presenting sponsor; Gwen Haggerty-Bearden, president of the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation; and our special guest, Clea Newman, Paul Newman’s daughter and director at SeriousFun Children’s Network. For more details on the event, visit the event page here.

Jackie and Jake Long with future camper Faith and her brother Will

North Star Reach touched our hearts from the instant that we heard about it. We wanted to dedicate ourselves and our resources to a meaningful cause and as we learned more and more about the camp and the children and their families that would benefit from it, we knew that this was something we wanted to dive into head first. Being involved in the building stages has been so exciting for us because we get to see this wonderful project literally being built from the ground up. We have complete faith in those who are leading the charge to make this dream into a reality and can’t wait to be a part of North Star Reach as it impacts so many lives throughout the Midwest region and beyond.” Our event hosts, Jake and Jackie Long.

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Gwen Haggerty-Bearden, President of The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation and Doug Armstrong, CEO and Founder of North Star Reach


Doug Armstrong, CEO of North Star Reach described Gwen as “Camp’s Angel” and explained that without her, camp would not be where it is today. Gwen shared, “It means a lot to me to be a part of this wonderful cause. Years ago I was a chaperon for the Camp on the Move program and I experienced the excitement of the kids firsthand. That excitement was so contagious. I am so happy and so proud of all that has been done so far.


Clea Newman opening the program at Under the North Star

Clea Newman, the daughter of the late Paul Newman, founder of the SeriousFun Children’s Network played a pivotal role in making the evening such a success she shared with the crowd, “First and foremost my father felt very lucky in his life and he wanted to give back. He wanted to do something for these kids who deserve it so much. North Star Reach is fitting into the legacy of my father so well. It is so exciting to be here in Michigan. I know my father is looking down and is so happy and so proud.”

Clea also shared her own personal journey as a volunteer at a SeriousFun Camp, “Well it all started when my father asked me to help as a camp counselor when I was in my twenties. I arrived at that camp as one person and left that camp as a significantly different person. Camp changed me so greatly and made such a profound difference in my life. So, I am here because if there is anything I can do for these kids, I will.”

For more details about the event, visit the event page here.

Let’s hear it for the Dads!


“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of songs.” – Pam Brown

With Father’s Day on Sunday,we wanted recognize the men who are so often the strength of our families, the brave ones who make it all okay, and the ones who encourage our children to be whoever they want to be. We spoke with a few of our camper dads at the Camp on the Move picnic (the night before we flew our campers on a plane to Victory Junction in North Carolina) to capture their thoughts on camp and to ask them what their favorite part of being a dad is to them.


David and his son Dominic

Have you ever been to camp before?
“This is my first time going to camp! I am really excited – everything sounds like so much fun.” – Dominic, camper

How are you feeling about sending your son to camp in NC for a week?
“I am really going to miss him.  Dominic has gone to a Boy Scouts camp before, but he has never gone to this kind of camp. He has never been this far away! I am not really nervous… I am really excited for him. Dominic had heart surgery when he was four years old. It is a very cool thing for him to be able to go on this trip alone. I think he is going to have a lot of fun.” – David, Dominic’s dad


Alyssa and her dad with fellow camper Angelina and her dad Brian.

You are going to camp for the first time! What are you most excited about?
“Everything! I heard there are going to be hot air balloons! I can’t wait to meet new friends and see the race cars.” – Alyssa, first time camper

How are you feeling about sending your daughter to NC for her first camp experience?
 “I am feeling a little nervous. Overall though, I am really happy for her. She has already made friends at this picnic so that makes me feel better. My wife and I have never been a part from her for a week. We have maybe gone somewhere for a couple days, but never a week. We will miss her a lot but I know it will be so good for her.” – Jeff, Alyssa’s dad

You are a veteran camper that’s so neat! What’s the best part of camp?
Yeah, this is my third time going to camp! My favorite activity is archery and I like making new friends. Camp is so much fun.” – Angelina, camper

Did you have fun at today’s picnic? What was the best part?
Yeah today was fun! The food was the best – it was really good.” – Angelina, camper

What is your favorite part of being a dad?
“Watching my kids do something they love.” – Brian, Angelina’s dad

What is the best or most positive impact camp has had on your daughter?
“The confidence and independence she has gained. She has developed a desire to do things on her own and that is great.” – Brian, Angelina’s dad

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