The Painted Turtle Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:25:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10,000 Miles and Counting Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:53:26 +0000 Marcellus Garcia was hooked from the very first time he came to The Painted Turtle in 2009, when he was only 8 years old. Ever since, he has come back at every opportunity:  week-long summer sessions, family weekend camps, and even special one-day events like the annual camper holiday gathering. So what keeps Marcellus and his family coming back – and driving more than 600 miles each time between camp and their home in San Francisco’s East Bay?

If you ask Marcellus, he’ll say it’s the other kids he meets and the unstoppable energy of his counselors.  His favorite camp activities are archery, the ropes course zip line, woodshop, and just hanging out with his friends. “I’m not the only disabled person here. I’m part of the crowd. I really enjoy it, it’s just fun.”

Marcellus has spina bifida. He uses leg braces and a walker for short distances, and a wheelchair for longer distances. He takes medications, and has a cecostomy tube and a catheter which he changes every four hours. These medical advances help him be self-mobile and continent, but they also require vigilant awareness and a strict regimen of care.

“Our family stays home more than we would if Marcellus didn’t have spina bifida,” say his parents. All excursions have to be checked for accessibility and proximity to health care in case it is needed.  It’s hard for the family to get away and even harder to think about letting Marcellus go somewhere without them.  But the Garcias know that he’s always safe at The Painted Turtle, and that these opportunities to go to camp by himself are life-changing. “He feels alone a lot at school being the only one of 1,500 kids in a wheelchair. His steps at camp toward independence and self-acceptance are really big deals to him and to us.”

The Garcias also enjoy coming to camp with Marcellus for family weekend sessions. They get to meet other parents of children who have spina bifida. “We like to be around people who can identify with our situation and share their own problem-solving skills.” Marcellus’ 17-year old brother Travis gets a lot out of these family camps sessions too, bonding with other siblings who are also caregivers. He’s planning to come back as a volunteer once he’s old enough –and so is Marcellus!


“I cannot explain what The Painted Turtle means to our family. It’s important that we get Marcellus there for every opportunity. We don’t want him to miss a single moment,” say the Garcias.

More than 150 of the campers and family members we serve live in Northern California like the Garcias, which is why The Painted Turtle recently held a special Camp on the Move event in San Francisco.  Just like at a regular session at camp, Marcellus and his fellow campers got to reunite, play carnival games, sing and dance, and put on a talent show. More Camp on the Move and other outreach events are planned for this year to keep the camp spirit alive for campers across the state of California.

“Do you know the theme song to the old sitcom Cheers?”, asks Marcellus’ dad.  “It describes The Painted Turtle perfectly. ‘Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.’”

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Celebrate Paul’s Birthday with a Matching Gift! Mon, 12 Jan 2015 19:23:02 +0000 $90,000 Match for All Gifts

in Honor of Paul Newman

The SeriousFun Children’s Network will match all gifts made in honor of Paul Newman or with a Paul Newman theme this year – up to $90,000 to celebrate Paul’s 90th birthday. To get the match for your gift:

· Make your donation in honor of Paul

· Theme your benefit drive or event around one of Paul’s movies

· Form a team for an athletic event and name it after a Paul Newman character

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Contact Us Mon, 22 Dec 2014 17:12:43 +0000
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The Legend of The Painted Turtle Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:00:46 +0000 LOTPT Promotion Images_Page_17We are thrilled to announce that “The Legend of The Painted Turtle”, a story that has been shared around the campfire since 2004, is now in print and ready to share with campers, their families, and you!

Thanks to a generous grant from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Painted Turtle will be able to offer campers and families during 2015 the opportunity to take a piece of camp home by making available to them a printed book version of “The Legend of the Painted Turtle.”

The story enfolds the tenets of camp—friendship, trust, kindness, laughter—into a narrative about a lonely little turtle who discovers through his adventures those things most important to his happiness and well-being. This story has encouraged campers to embrace the values of camp and understand that the seemingly simplest things in life have the power to transform us.

Reminders of camp, whatever form they take, are powerful in extending and deepening the nature of The Painted Turtle experience for the children we serve. We hope this tale provides that reminder of camp for campers and their families throughout the year.

Blake and BrotherThe Legend of The Painted Turtle was written by our very own Executive Director and former Camp Director, Blake Maher. The story was written before the camp opened in the hope of what camp might someday offer to children who came through its gates.

The wonderful illustration were created by Blake’s brother, graphic designer and artist, Josh Maher, who also worked as a summer staff member and family weekend volunteer from 2004 to 2007. The spirit and bravery of the campers he met served as his inspiration.

Additional copies of The Legend of The Painted Turtle can be purchased on Amazon  with a portion of the proceeds benefiting camp. Just a friendly reminder that if you register TPT as your chosen charity and purchase items on Amazon Smiles additional proceeds come back to camp.

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