News Spotlight: Unique Camp Design & Benefits to Pediatric Patients

North Star Reach CEO Doug Armstrong was in Traverse City recently sharing the origins of North Star Reach and camp design with architects from around the state. He was joined by lead camp architect Jan Culberston, senior principal at Ann Arbor-based A3C Collaborative Architecture, at the American Institute of Architects Michigan (AIA MI) chapter’s Annual Health Facilities Planning Seminar held at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. The presentation gained coverage from CBS affiliate, 9&10 News.

“Camp gives kids the emotional, medical, and physical support needed to push beyond their limitations and boundaries and really get a sense of what they’re capable of,” Armstrong said. “We take kids where they don’t think they can go—and certainly where their parents don’t think they can go.” He cites research from Yale Child Study Center (2015) showing a correspondence between summer camp and improved health outcomes in children, including greater independence and self-esteem.

Partnerships with 12 leading children’s hospitals throughout Michigan and Chicago ensured North Star Reach was designed to optimally support campers’ special medical needs. Those partners also provide top-tier medical expertise during camp sessions, which include weeklong summer and weekend family camp programs. Campers can receive the care they need, all without ever leaving camp.

Presentation highlights included:

  • History and need to design a medically sound camp from the ground up.
  • Design challenges and solutions, including thoughtful spoke-like site plan on 105-acre peninsula, climate-controlled cabins, zero-entry pools, and completely accessible treehouse.
  • Health Center (known as the Observatory) features, including open treatment spaces, trauma bay, overnight rooms and medical staff apartments.

You can view the presentation slides below.

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