- Home Away From Home
I lost my mother to AIDS when I was just 7 years old. I was confused and a lost child, trying to understand and find answers. “Why her? Why me? What is “AIDS”? What is “HIV”? How can it be cured?”. I started camp shortly after and eventually received the best answers I could of got. I spend the rest of my childhood, growing into who I am today, at this wonderful place. When I was away from camp, I didn’t feel like I “fit in” anywhere else, but the moment those bus doors opened and we were greeted by our counselors, it felt like home. It felt right. The next decade I spent 1 week of my summer here, and always begged for more time. The boat ceremony was always the hardest. So many tears were shed that night, but we all were hopeful. Hopeful we all were able to make it back the following year. Some didn’t, but most did. I haven’t been back to camp in a decade now. I miss it so much. There is plenty of times when I just sit and think about it, and dreamed of coming back one day as a counselor, or just a visit. I now have my own 7 year old beautiful healthy little girl that calls me mommy. I take what I learned at camp with me through every day parenting. Never to judge others, always be kind, have courage in everything you do, and to never give up. Double H Ranch is my home away from home, and I cherish it so deeply. I even have it tattooed on me! If anyone is looking into bringing your child here, do it. You wont regret it, and they won’t ever stop sharing the memories with you that they had there. I’m turning 28 years old this year, and I feel amazing. Beating odds is an amazing feeling, but not thinking about turning 30 soon is!! Haha! I want to say a huge thank you to all of the counselors because without all of your encouragement and love, we may not of pushed ourselves to try harder. So thank you all!!07/24/2017Double H Ranch
- Best First Time Ever
This is the first time we ever went to a camp. A sleep away camp at that. At first when our mother told us that we were going to a sleep away camp, we was very skeptical about going. Ayishah and I tried to talk her out of letting us go, but of course that didn’t work. When we got there I felt homesick, but after we saw that we were not alone having life-threatening illnesses, I felt right at home! So did my sister! Double H is the right loving camp we ever went to with so many fun activities and especially going to “Great Escape”. We can definitely say that we’re looking forward to more wonderful years to come07/24/2017Double H Ranch
- Best Summer Ever
This is the story of the time I had the best summer ever. Double H is the top best camp I’ve ever been to. All the camps that I have been to they let us do work, only went places that they picked out, and we never had any fun time. Until me and my mom went to the Valerie Fund Center, and we found out out Double H. The first time I went there, I got a little homesick. But, when we showed up at Double H I felt welcomed. People were cheering us on, I didn’t have a clue why, and they gave us hugs. I can definitely say that for the past 4 years that I have been at Double H, they have treated me like family, and I really love that about this camp. So I want to say thank you to the Valerie Fund Center, thanks to Double H, and thanks to my mom cause without her I don’t know where I would be. And This is the story of the time I had the best summer ever.10/06/2016Double H Ranch
- Long Term Positive Impact of Double H
When I was a child, I started going to Double H. I spent 9 years as a camper there. The freedom that I experienced, and the feeling of “fitting in” as a little boy with Spina Bifida was profound on me. When I was a camper at Double H, I looked up greatly to my counselors, and the positive impact that they had, not only on me, but everyone else there. It has inspired me to this day. Now, I volunteer with another organization with their camping program as the camp director, and I still look back to my counselors that I had when I was younger for inspiration on fun ways of interacting with my campers who have their own special circumstances.
Double H Ranch not only gave me the freedom as a little boy to be confident in myself, but it carries with me to this day in leading camping trips with youth who have disabilities. The spirit of camp is something I can never let go.10/06/2016Double H Ranch
- The Disney World of skiing
Nicholas S., who turned six year’s old in December, just made the age cut, and 2008 was his first year of skiing. His dad, Leo did not think that he would be able to do it – “he won’t ride a bike, so why would I think he would ski?” But he loves it. He’s had five opportunities to ski. Nick’s parents make only ‘tentative’ plans on the weekends because, as they tell family and friends, they are on the cancellation list which means if someone cancels at the last minute, they may receive a call that morning that there is a spot for Nick, and they pack their bag and head for the slopes. Lisa and Leo call it the Disney World of skiing.01/08/2016Double H Ranch
- Cindy’s Comfort Camp
I just wanted to drop you all a quick note to say thanks for all that you did to make our recent camp (Cindy’s Comfort Camp) such a great success. This was the biggest and best group of Double H staff and volunteers that we had at any of our camps. All the Double H staff, Double H big Buddies, and Double H volunteers not only worked tirelessly to get to know the kids and deliver the program, they also made sure that our campers benefited from the uniquely special spirit of the Summer program. It made such a positive impact on the weekend and the kids. I hope that we are as fortunate in future camps to be able to benefit in this way. Our partnership is so meaningful to me, and it makes me happy and proud to see how it is blossoming. I hope too that we are able to give more volunteers to your other programs. I have some ideas about how to get more people involved.
Again, thanks so much. I look forward to seeing you all over the Winter, in the Spring, and in the Summer. I guess I’m like a bad penny now, I keep turning up!
Gerard Florio, Ph.D
Clinical Health Psychologist
The C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital
(Cindy’s Comfort Camp serves children who have a parent or loved one diagnosed with Cancer)01/08/2016Double H Ranch
- Truly Wonderful Experience
We are confident that you have heard (and read) this before – what a truly wonderful experience you provide at Double H Ranch! We just wanted to take a moment and express our heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone of you for the great time our daughter Melanie had at camp during Session 2. From the very first second upon entering the camp grounds and being greeted with applause and cheering to the tearful singing and hugs good-bye we knew she was in good hands. In fact although you tell people that Double H stands for Health & Happiness – we know the secret (shh – we won’t tell). Double H really stands for Heavenly Hands!
Thank you for making a difference – making a difference in the lives of the campers who attend, like Melanie and also making a difference in the lives of the families too (like ours!). We are telling everyone of Mel’s adventures – whitewater rafting, overnight tent camping, and zip-lining. We have tried to always include Melanie in everything we do – to not let her physical condition prevent her spirit from experiencing all that life has to offer.
She is a blessing to us. She has transformed our lives and so often the lives of those she meets. We have been blessed by all of you – from the nurses, to the maintenance worker, to front office staff, to the board of directors, the corporate partners, to the 2nd grader reading books to raise funds, and especially the wonderful counselors in the Bear Cabin.
Thank you from all of us!
Tim, Valerie, Lisa, Melanie, Andrew & Nicole01/08/2016Double H Ranch
Parent Advisory Council
As we all know, living with a child with a life-threatening illness does not just affect the child but the whole family. The Parent Advisory Council aims to rekindle friendships with fellow campers, families, counselors and Double H Staff throughout the year. To-date the group has established an Annual Family Day, a day that consists of a service project in the morning followed by lunch and camp activities in the afternoon and a summer Staff Appreciation Luncheon – preparing and serving an incredible meal to reenergize summer staff and thank them for all they do.
If you are a parent of a Double H summer camper/winter student, and you are interested in learning more about the Camper Parent Advisory Group, please call Admissions Director, 518-696-5676, ext. 222