In 2002, Camp Get-A-Way was founded to empower and support families whose children struggle with an emotional, behavioral, or mental illness. Coming alongside these families, we seek to create safe camp experiences where families can just be families.
In a traditional camp environment, Camp Get-A-Way offers New York families the opportunity to rediscover the joy of being a family without worry of discrimination or the stigma often associated with mental health issues.
Camp Camp Get-A-Way was founded in 2002 by Western New York parents Pam Brannan, Nancy Craig, Liz Hodgedon, Marge Wright, and Vicky McCarthy. These five women knew that raising a child with mental, emotional, or behavioral challenges added a layer of complexity to the already-difficult task of parenting because they lived it in their own homes. They also knew first-hand the loneliness, shame, stress, and despair that are often felt but rarely mentioned.
One of these women was encouraged by the positive memories that she and her family created every year when they went camping in the Adirondacks. In the beauty and adventure of the outdoors, her family bonded over new activities, and negative family interactions were eclipsed by positive ones. Knowing how camping had encouraged her own family, she had a vision to make it doable for other families to enjoy the same, and the other four women joined her to create a family camp experience that would empower hurting families.
After meeting weekly for about a year to navigate their way through creating a nonprofit, securing a camp, finding volunteers, planning meals, and gathering supplies for activities, these ladies finally saw their efforts bring positive memories, community, and hope to hurting families when the inaugural session of Camp Get-A-Way was held at Covenant Acres camp in New York state.
Twenty years later, Camp Get- A-Way continues to encourage, equip, and unite families of children struggling with mental, emotional, or behavioral challenges, and is developing plans to expand as the need is only growing.
The heart and hope of the founders is that parents would be willing to move past their fears—fears of the unknown, that they can’t do it, that their child will embarrass them, that others will see and judge—and just come. Come take a chance and experience the hope and help that’s found in community.
Since its founding, Camp Get-A-Way has been honored by New York State with a “What’s Great in Our State” award.
Camp Get-A-Way is a New York 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
board of directors
Camp Get-A-Way is under the leadership of a Board of Directors who provide oversight, skills, and counsel. To say they love Camp Get-A-Way is an understatement. During our summer sessions, many of them serve on our staff team, sharing their skills, expertise, and passion for helping families navigate mental health.