Experience Camps Honored by the New York Yankees for Hope Week

WESTPORT, CT – June 20, 2024 – On June 19th, Experience Camps was honored during Yankees HOPE Week, in which the Yankees “shine a spotlight for five days on a different individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support.” 

Yankees players Clay Holmes, Jose Trevino, Tommy Kahnle, Ian Hamilton, Ron Marinaccio, Trent Grisham, Victor González and Jahmai Jones, along with Pitching Coach Matt Blake, Third Base Coach Luis Rojas, Bullpen Coach Mike Harkey and Bullpen Catcher Rainiero Coa surprised kids from Experience Camps at Dave & Buster’s in Pelham Manor with an afternoon of arcade games and lunch. 

Following the meal, campers from Experience Camps and the Yankees engaged in a sharing circle, opening up about their own experiences of loss and death, and what our camp program means to them.

Sara Deren with Yankees

CEO Sara Deren has a chance to thank the Yankees publicly for an amazing day. Photo credit: New York Yankees

Yankees outfielder and second baseman Jahmai Jones, whose father died when he was young, said, “I remember being their age and in their shoes and feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders when you’re in middle school. If this event resonates for them and makes them feel less alone, that’s all I can ask for.”  

At Yankee Stadium, the group took in batting practice from the field and was recognized in a pre-game ceremony. Experience Camps CEO Sara Deren received AmeriCorps’ President’s Volunteer Lifetime Service Award, presented by AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith, and received a $10,000 donation from the New York Yankees Foundation. 

“It was such an incredible experience seeing these 10 Yankees players showing up for our kids to listen, connect and play,” said Sara Deren. “We got to hear superstars like Clay Holmes talk about how courageous it is to be vulnerable, and see Jahmai Jones go from shooting hoops with the kids to sharing his own experience of losing his dad at 13. The entire Yankees organization went above and beyond to make us feel special, supported and seen.”

[Read Sara’s first-hand account of this truly exceptional day!]

About Experience Camps

Experience Camps is an award-winning national nonprofit that transforms the lives of grieving children through summer camp programs and innovative, year-round initiatives. Through compassion, connection, and play, we allow grieving children to embody a life full of hope and possibility. By amplifying their voices, we are creating a more grief-sensitive culture.


Please contact Michelle Cove, Director of Communications at Experience Camps for inquiries: michelle@experiencecamps.org