2023 Strategic Plan Update

North Star Reach’s Journey of Transformation: What Our Strategic Planning Process Means for 2023

This summer, North Star Reach celebrated the return of delivering life-changing camp experiences and programs to children with serious illnesses and their families. Throughout the past six years, since opening in 2016, our medical specialty camp has provided more than 4,500 transformative program experiences for children and family members from across Michigan and the Great Lakes region, free of charge.

We are incredibly proud of our entire camp community’s dedication, generosity, and commitment to making a lasting impact in the lives of children with complex medical needs and their families. Even in the middle of the COVID pandemic, we found ways to provide lifelines of community and connection through an innovative offering of alternate programming. It is tribute to our meticulous medical planning and commitment to creating safe experiences that this summer we welcomed more than 120 campers across three residential camp sessions, all without a single COVID outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic—which also challenged our organization with the disruption of traditional funding sources and inflationary pressures—North Star Reach has been in the midst of an organizational realignment. As part of strategic sustainability planning which began in 2021, North Star Reach appointed a new Executive Director, Mitch Rosenwasser. He brings three decades of camp administration, fundraising, and board leadership experience. 

As North Star Reach looks to the future, we acknowledge that our organization is confronting a set of very real challenges, including a gap in resources needed to sustain our high-quality medically supported camp experiences in a safe and meaningful way. As a result, our Board of Directors, together with Executive Director Rosenwasser, have made the difficult decision to suspend in-person camp programs for 2023 while the organization focuses on restructuring and improving fundraising to drive long-term success.

“We are committed to our mission of making sure that young people who are chronically ill have an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Board Chairman Dr. Matthew Denenberg, Chief of Pediatrics, Beaumont Children’s Hospital. “We also need to make sure that we deliver on our mission of offering high-quality medical care that is essential for providing safe camp experiences for our campers, volunteers, and staff. While difficult, this decision allows us to build a stronger organization for the long term.”

Moving forward, Executive Director Rosenwasser will lead development efforts and continue driving operational efficiencies to ensure long-term financial stability, and the Board of Directors will continue carrying out an operational review process aimed at identifying structural and sustainability recommendations. 

“We have to take the necessary steps today to build a strong foundation for the future, even if those are incredibly difficult ones,” said Executive Director Rosenwasser. “I am committed to building resources and programming that will provide life-changing experiences for generations of children, and I’m confident we can get there.”

In addition to the guidance from the Board of Directors, North Star Reach has engaged SeriousFun Children’s Network (SeriousFun), the leading network of medical specialty camps in the world, in the operational review and strategic planning process. North Star Reach has been a Full Member camp of SeriousFun since 2016. SeriousFun is providing a variety of support services to North Star Reach including financial resources and operational planning expertise. Additionally, North Star Reach has appointed Dee Ahearn, CEO of fellow SeriousFun camp Barretstown based in Ireland, to the North Star Reach Board of Directors.

“SeriousFun is proud of all the ways that North Star Reach has been able to positively impact the lives of children living with serious illnesses and their families, and we are wholeheartedly in support of the actions they are taking to strengthen their organization,” said Blake Maher, CEO, SeriousFun Children’s Network. “Together, we will lean into our organizational best practices, programming expertise, or other supports to help North Star Reach chart their way to a solid and sustainable future.”

We pledge to be as proactive as possible with sharing information about our future fundraising and program plans. 

To transform, sometimes we need to dig deep. This difficult decision is a necessary part of our journey as a young nonprofit. We are tremendously grateful to our community for the patience and support that we now need to ask of you. 

In this spirit, we want our supporters to know that we plan to host our “Under the North Star” signature event on Sept. 30. This will be a beginning—the start of our bridge to the future. We look forward to connecting with our incredible community. Additional information on how to attend can be found here.

Media inquires, please contact Ami Walsh, Communications Director, North Star Reach | | Mobile: 734-846-7262