History

The Double H Ranch, co-founded by Charles R. Wood and Paul Newman, provides specialized programs and year-round support for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Our purpose is to enrich their lives and provide camp experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. All programs are FREE of charge and capture the magic of the Adirondacks

The Double H Ranch, located in New York’s Adirondack Park, is a demonstration of the commitment and generosity of philanthropist Charles R. Wood and actor Paul Newman. Since the Ranch officially opened its doors on July 4, 1993, it has served over 60,000 children dealing with life-threatening illnesses from around the world. It was the second “Hole in the Wall Camp” in what has become a worldwide network of not-for-profit recreational and therapeutic experiences for children with serious illness.

In 1991, entrepreneur Charley Wood purchased the 320-acre Hidden Valley Ranch property with the intention of expanding the original concept of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to his beloved Adirondacks. Mr. Wood, a long-time supporter of the arts and medicine, drew his inspiration from the Connecticut camp started by Mr. Newman in 1988, and enlisted Mr. Newman’s support to help create the Double H Ranch. Renovations and upgrades to the property were carried out to fashion it into a medically state-of-the-art, accessible facility. Since his death in 2004, Double H has become a testament to Mr. Wood’s vision. In fact, an H-shaped tree on the property is a lasting reminder of his commitment to the “health and happiness” of others. Mr. Newman served as Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Double H Ranch until his death in 2008.

Black and white photo of Paul and CharleyFounders

Charles R. Wood, Co-Founder (1914-2004)
Mr. Wood was the founding father of an amusement park empire headquartered in Lake George, New York. In addition to his amusement enterprises, Mr. Wood developed several motels and restaurants in the Lake George area. He served as President of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, and served as a member of the Board. He was inducted into the IAAPA’s Hall of Fame in 1992. He served on the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, the Hyde Museum in Glens Falls and the Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, NY. He founded the Charles R. Wood Foundation, which focuses on assisting children who are critically ill and furthering culture for future generations.

Paul Newman, Co-Founder (1925-2008)
In 1982, Paul Newman and his friend, author A.E. Hotchner, established Newman’s Own Foods to market the actor’s personal recipe with the profits earmarked for charity. The salad dressing was such a hit that the company branched into spaghetti sauce, popcorn, salsa and lemonade. Soon the profits reached millions.

Newman’s Own received scores of letters asking for help from parents of kids with serious illnesses, but tax rules prohibited the firm from making donations to individuals. Newman began pondering other ways to help these children. In 1986, he had an inspiration: Why not build a place for kids who are too sick to go to ordinary camps? He would name it The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for the ragtag bandits from his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

In 1988, Paul Newman opened and founded The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut, for children with Cancer and serious blood disorders. Until his death in 2008, Newman founded camps throughout the world with a common goal to give kids the chance to “kick back, relax and have lots of fun!”, and insisting that the camps’ focus be about fun and FREE of charge for all campers and their families.

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