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Announcing Fall Campily Retreats

We are excited to share our plans to safely resume on-site family weekend programming this Fall and welcome a limited number of families back to camp.

With the health and safety of everyone (camper families, volunteers and staff) our top priority, our new “Campily Retreat” will adapt traditional Family Camp Weekend programming to ensure COVID-19 precautions while giving families a chance to enjoy a camp getaway experience.

To support safety measures and social distancing, each family will be housed individually in separate cabins, which allows participation of 12 families per session. As we anticipate a significant level of interest, acceptance will be selected via a lottery of completed applications (deadlines listed with the full schedule below). Families who are offered a retreat weekend following the lottery drawing will be notified and additional information regarding COVID testing prior to the camp session will be shared; all other families will be placed on a waitlist and will be notified if space becomes available.

Each family will enjoy a private camp experience all weekend, remaining in their unit or pod as they choose to participate in outdoor activities, including archery, boating, and nature walks, as well as other camp traditions. All individuals on site, including staff, volunteers, and family campers, will wear masks and maintain physical distance from one another when not in their individual cabin.

2021 Fall Campily Retreat Schedule*

September 10-12: Epilepsy & General Session
September 24-26: Sickle Cell/Hematology/Pain Management & General Session
October 8-10: Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM) Families & General Session
October 15-17: Transplant & General Session

*Application deadline for first two sessions is August 20; deadline for the last two sessions is September 17. Applications received later than these dates will not be included in the lottery but will be placed at the end of the waiting list.

Fall Campily Retreats are entirely free of charge and all “General Sessions” are open to families with a child who has any serious medical diagnosis. Families who have never attended a North Star Reach program are welcome! In addition, the medical diagnosis associated with each session places a focus on specific medical populations, allowing families to connect with others on a similar medical journey. To be eligible, the child who has a serious health challenge must be 17 years old or younger (infants welcome).

Registration is now closed.

Need assistance or have questions? Contact North Star Reach’s Outreach and Family Liaison Director Jessica Doletzky at


North Star Reach Honored With $56K Grant

We are thrilled to announce that we have received a $56,380 Generator Z grant to offer community-building and personal development programs for teens living with chronic and life-threatening health challenges.

Launched in 2020, Generator Z is a teen-led initiative to reimagine the future of afterschool. More than 1,000 teenagers from across Southeast Michigan and Western New York became ‘Generators’ and shared their afterschool experience and insight online, and organizations like North Star Reach stepped up with ideas to turn that teen insight into action.

North Star Reach is one of just 11 organizations in Washtenaw and Livingston counties to receive funding. The support will fund a three-part initiative called “Find Your Place, People & Voice,” which includes an online summer camp experience, virtual year-round meetups, and a conference dedicated to addressing adolescent mental health and wellness. The series will focus on helping teens gain independence, which can be especially challenging for adolescents with serious health challenges as they transition to adulthood.

“Dealing with a serious health challenge, many decisions are out of your control,” says North Star Reach’s Mike “Coach” Parker, Director of Volunteer Engagement. “But at camp we want to give them back that freedom – to empower them to choose and advocate for what they need. Along with the more serious aspects of accepting new responsibilities, we intend to try to incorporate activities our teens already love – video games, sports, music – into the community-building sessions that we have together.”

All programs are offered FREE to teens who have a qualifying medical diagnosis. The online summer camp, called Solstice Camp, kicks off Tuesday, July 20, and runs until Friday, July 23. Virtual meetups will begin in the fall. The virtual Teen Conference is scheduled for December 10, 2021.

“Our teen summer camp session has always been a centerpiece of our programming, and we feel exceptionally grateful to have additional monetary support to put our vision into practice,” says Monica Philipp, North Star Reach Associate Director of Development. “We know that being a teenager is already filled with stressors and then to add the transition from pediatric to adult care is no small feat. We are excited to build support systems and a community to help our teen campers through this important time in their lives.”

Generator Z driven by teens and powered by Lakeshore Connections with support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Receiving funding that was driven by teens for teens to create the change they want to see makes this an especially meaningful grant, adds Philipp. “With this funding we’re able to incorporate their wants, needs and feedback to make sure we are supporting them in the ways they need it most.”

Here’s look inside a past in-person Solstice program:

For more information or media inquires, contact North Star Reach Director of Communication Ami Walsh (