Decades of familiar, happy faces cover the walls in the dining hall of Camp Crystal Lake outside Gainesville, FL. Kids in our part of the world have been spending summers there for as long as any of us can remember, so when the Camp’s Director, Scott Burton, got word to us that he would love to collaborate on an event, a group of us (including Ken’s three kids) loaded up the car and headed out for a visit.
The conversation started simply as a family-focused Sister Hazel fan event—a weekend “summer camp” retreat with activities, bonfires, cabins, and, of course, music. When we decided to also invite some regional kids with cancer and their families, the idea took on a whole new meaning, and the weekend turned out to be far more powerful than any of us first imagined: so much so, that we decided to center future Camp Hazelnut events around these special kids and families.
The Camp Hazelnut goal is simple: create a playful, safe, uplifting experience for kids and families navigating the overwhelming challenges of a cancer diagnosis … a place to simply get away and come together. The campers embark on a great exploration to discover (or rediscover!) the magic that can only be created at summer camp, and the band is right there alongside them every step of the way, leading activities, playing acoustic campfire sing-alongs, sharing, giggling, and having a blast.
Camp Hazelnut is financially supported through the band’s Lyrics for Life 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer. Ken Block and his band mates founded Lyrics for Life in memory of Ken’s younger brother Jeffrey, who ultimately lost his four-year battle with cancer as a teenager and changed a lot of lives.
Very special thanks to Wyc Grousbeck — CEO and co-owner of the Boston Celtics — and the entire Celtics organization for sponsoring the 2020 Camp Hazelnut event (again!) and partnering with us to make it even more special!
A local news crew visited the 2017 event. Watch here.