Robin Hood Gives Back

Robin Hood Gives Back

A Unique Tradition

The support and warmth from Robin Hood alumni, staff, and campers envelopes us - we call it the magic in the trees. In this setting, campers form lifelong friendships, participate in activities that build self-confidence and also teach communication with others. Our campers' excitement to learn and grow inspired us to find ways to share this Robin Hood spirit with others, both in and out of camp.

Every year we appreciate how lucky we are to spend our summers in Freedom, NH at Camp Robin Hood. We wanted to develop a program to remind us of our good fortune by sharing camp with others and learning from their stories.

Camp will always be a carefree and fun environment for everyone who stays with us and we wanted to take time during the summer to reflect on our opportunity to have this experience. We created an annual event that allows us to invite special guests to camp. These guests have stories that inspire us all, from the youngest camper to our oldest staff, and those guests find an experience at camp that is meaningful and unforgettable.

The Tradition Begins

Since 2012, individuals representing a variety of organizations, from charities and non-profits to motivational speakers, have spent time in the Realm. Many of them have faced and overcome incredible challenges in their lives. It’s a wonderful thing to see our campers and staff interact and learn from these visitors all throughout camp, sharing their favorite aspects of summers at Robin Hood. While the visitors change each year, the impact is the same. The stories they share remind us all that obstacles don’t have to stop them from achieving their dreams and privilege doesn’t mean they are always granted.

As camp leadership, as fellow parents, and as human beings, we love our newest tradition. We believe it builds and reinforces camp founder Andy Friedman’s, legacy and goals for Robin Hood. Andy believed that we are our best selves when we give of ourselves to others.

“Stop for a moment and ask yourself how much you gave and how much you received this summer. And resolve most earnestly that in the future...in school, at home, and next year at Camp, you will give more and therefore enjoy more, and make your whole surrounding better for your contribution.” –Andy Friedman, Camp Founder

As our summer tradition established itself, our alumni wanted to join in the sharing of camp. In 2014, they created their own foundation - Magic in the Trees Foundation. Through word of mouth and special events like the annual Green & White Softball Tournament in Central Park, our alumni have raised money so that kids who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to attend camp can go. The first summer they sponsored two campers and it has grown every year; in 2018 they sponsored eight kids to join us in the Realm!

A History of Robin Hood Gives Back

2018 Randy Pierce | 2020 Vision Quest

Randy engaged our campers in a conversation about abilities, perserverence, and teamwork

Our guest speaker was Randy Pierce from 2020 Vision Quest. Randy lost his sight in his mid-twenties due to a genetic disorder and had to learn to adapt. He has not allowed his disability to get in the way of living life to the fullest. He has hiked all of the 4,000-foot mountains in New Hampshire as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro, and has competed in a Tough Mudder race. He qualified and ran in the Boston Marathon as well as many other races across the country. During his time at camp, he engaged our campers in a conversation about abilities, perseverance, and teamwork. As part of his visit, he used special balls that had bells in them to lead our campers in hands-on demonstrations regarding how blind athletes play soccer and basketball.

More about Vision Quest »

2017 Joe Swoboda | K9s for Warriors

Joe’s mission is to help save other veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Campers wrote letters of thanks and encouragement to active duty military members, which were sent to service members deployed overseas.

We welcomed retired Army SFC Joe Swoboda and his service dog, Lily, to the Realm. Joe survived two major explosions during his military service and like so many veterans, Joe returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.) The non-profit organization K9s For Warriors trains rescue dogs as service dogs for veterans, and Lily has helped Joe overcome the physical and psychological traumas of war. Currently, Joe’s mission is to help save other veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Campers wrote letters of thanks and encouragement to active duty military members, which were sent to service members deployed overseas.

More about K9s for Warriors »

2016 Dan Nevins | Wounded Warrior Project

Dan led campers in yoga on the quad. After Dan left, campers wrote letters of gratitude to soldiers serving abroad.

We welcomed Dan Nevins from the Wounded Warrior Project. Embodying perseverance and strength, Dan shared his personal story about serving in Iraq, which included losing both legs and suffering the loss of several fellow soldiers. Nevertheless, he tackled life’s hardships through rehabilitation and now makes a conscious effort to live in the moment and appreciate what life has to offer. In addition to accompanying the campers who swam to the island in a kayak, Dan led campers in yoga on the quad. After Dan left, campers wrote letters of gratitude to soldiers serving abroad.

More about Dan Nevins »
More about Wounded Warrior Project »

2015 Red Sox Home Base Program

Campers were grateful and inspired by their work with veterans and their families, and engaged in projects that contributed to camp.

We were privileged to learn from representatives of The Red Sox Foundation’s Home Base Veteran and Family Care Program, a non-profit that provides support and resources to those dealing with the psychological and physical wounds of military combat, as well as the family members, caregivers and other individuals impacted by deployment and combat injuries. Campers left the Chuck Ilig Playhouse grateful and inspired by their work with veterans and their families, and engaged in projects that contributed to camp. Moving forward, Woody, Camp Director, challenged them to continue this kind of service to others at home and for others.

More about Home Base Program »

2014 Paul Frase | Joshua Frase Foundation

After a powerful presentation about families who live with centronuclear myopathies, each group went on a Walk for Joshua.

We welcomed Paul Frase, former professional football player and Joshua Frase Foundation founder. This foundation raises funds to find a cure for centronuclear myopathies and to support families who live with myotubular myopathy, a devastating skeletal disease. After a powerful presentation to our campers each group went on a Walk for Joshua.

More about Joshua Frase Foundation »

2013 Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club

Our guests spent time with every camp group, and their candor and energy made lasting impressions on our campers.

We partnered with Dare2Tri paratriathlon club, a group based in Chicago that serves youth, adults and injured service members. The organization’s goal is to positively impact the lives of athletes with physical disabilities or visual impairments by providing opportunities to develop their skills in the sport of paratriathlon while inspiring the community at large. Six individuals affiliated with this program spent a few days at camp with us. They swam and ran and biked with us. Our guests spent time with every camp group, and their candor and energy made lasting impressions on our campers.

More about Dare2Tri »

2012 Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus

The young women regfugees of the chorus spent the day at gaga, arts and crafts, swimming and sharing original poetry with our campers.

We hosted The Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, a group based in Portland, Maine, that is comprised of young women refugees from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalis, Sudan, Uganda, Viet Nam, British West Indies, and Zambia, along with children whose families have been here for generations. Through music, these young women have adapted to a new culture and reclaimed their lives. Members of the chorus spent the day at camp eating lunch in the dining hall followed by gaga, arts and crafts, and swimming with our campers. After a cookout on the beach, they shared some original poetry and songs with us.

More about Pihcintu »