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Sam Barkin Memorial Fund

Many of you expressed a wish to create something in Sam’s memory, to carry on his legacy, and to cement his friendship and love. After much thought, his family has decided that a fund honoring Sam’s name at Camp Winnarainbow would do just that and so much more.

Song written and performed by Sam Barkin, recorded by Silver on the Leaf Grove.

Why Camp Winnarainbow? For all of us who knew Sam, we know that Camp was everything to him. Allie Bird shares a story.

In the summer of 2015, Sam and I took what would be our last road trip up to camp. As the traffic eased and the golden hills stretched alongside the highway, he began talking about what he hoped he could do with his career. He wanted to start a Center for children that would offer year-round opportunities for children to continue connecting to the loving zany camp community while receiving high-quality therapeutic care. His vision was clear and I knew that Sam was uniquely positioned to realize this dream. Made of equal parts rock and rainbows, Sam had the foundation to make the seemingly fantastical a reality. 

The Sam Barkin Memorial Fund is a wonderful first step towards this vision. It will allow Camp Winnarainbow to formalize work that he did for camp on his own time and create the infrastructure for CWR to remain in children's lives year round. Giving camp the ability to extend their work into the school year is a beautiful way to give life to his legacy.

-Allison Bird Albee

Images from our trip that day

The following donate button will mark your donation specifically to the Sam Barkin Memorial Fund. 

The Sam Barkin Memorial Fund is an ongoing Fund where all of us can join together to put our good where it does the most. First and foremost, the family wishes to fulfill Sam’s dream of providing year-round mentoring to kids for whom a few weeks of camp is only the initial phase of support and loving care. The family also wishes to provide scholarships to bring financially disadvantaged kids to camp.  

Here’s an idea of how your generous donation will be used:

  • $1880 sends a kid to camp;
  • $2000 sponsors a Youth Leader attending Camp Winnarainbow’s Leadership Programs and training

100% of anything you give in honor of Sam’s life work will be used directly for the campers; from Mentoring to transportation to store $$ to covering any medical costs to making sure they have closed toed shoes for stilts.


Silly song at breakfast circle.

The following vignettes are some beautiful memories, thoughts and well wishes. If you would like to add to them please email us here.

I still think of Sam when I first met him as the 10'ish year old Space Eat champion improviser, usually wearing the metallic Alien-Spider costume, and conducting some variant of "Person On The Street" for Wavy's class' Tornado piece. His balance of in-the-moment glint-in-his-eye humor, with deep heartful kindness and interest in others, never changed in him.  - Jasper S. Thelin

My memory of Sam that sticks in my head is a more recent one when my youngest son Dana was at Camp for the first time and we came up to visit at the session end. Sam gave me one of those big hugs and big smiles and said to me, “now I know all three of your kids and I love them all!” With verve and great joy, smiling all the way. My best wishes in converting tragedy into joy and peace.

-Todd Keeler Wolf

This world will miss you…so much

We have so much to do now that you are gone…so much

I will love your mama and your sister in your absence

We will never forget you!


I remember Sam at Camp. He was always so loving, caring, considerate, strong. Actually his heart made me swim like a goldfish. He taught me the Triangle of Safety. And I still have confidence that I can fall because of him. I will always cherish his memory and we need to keep making kids know that they can “fall” safely.

-Phoebe Pierce, former camper

I supervised Sam at Highland Hospital last year in Pediatrics. He was so talented as a therapist with children, so creative, caring, insightful and touched their lives. I learned so much from him. My best therapist I have supervised in 25 years. Sam touched my life. We spent 2 hours a week together for a year talking about life, therapy and learning from each other. I will always remember Sam and his positive impact on everyone around him.  

-Jeffrey Lazzarus, PHd

Dear Sammy B, I keep finding you tucked into all the corners of myself. At every turn, there you are, a touchstone in my heart, the sun at the center of so many of my memories, the star of all of my favorite scenes…every memory from Camp that I have since Summer 1999 is dusted in your golden presence. I can’t really imagine being there without you, but I know you’ll always be there.

-Yakira Teitel

I knew Sam through Camp Winnarainbow. From the moment I saw him across the tipi circle on my first day as a camper I knew he was someone I wanted to be around. Although I only took his improv class a few times his joy and enthusiasm was contagious and drew me in. It is the small things that I remember most: spending afternoons in the tipi circle joking around, seeing who could spit cherry pits the farthest, his big hugs that left me feeling so loved, watching him dance in his Sponge Bob costume, his amazing laughter…I could go on forever. I will miss his huge smile, his hugs, talking about life, but of all just being with him. Love always and forever!

-Hannah Gradjansky, former camper

I worked with Sam at the pediatrics clinic at Highland Hospital. As a therapist, he touched the lives of so many children. He taught them how to love and how to be in peace in the world.

-Veronica Correa

improvSam, Mom and DadDorothywavy, sam and ron

Sam, the love you shared with the world will always be a blessing to your family and those who hold your memory.

-Judy Segall

Sam encouraged me to share my voice at Camp when I doubted myself. We worked side by side every day. He was my mentor and incredible friend. I will be forever grateful.

-Leia, Camp Staff

Sammy! Thinking of you. So happy and grateful for every time we were blessed by your smile, hugs, I love you’s and your spirit will live now for all time. I have your song we recorded together. It is so beautiful. A real CATHARSIS. I wish I could play one more game of chess with you! We will pick up the pieces for you now and keep moving in pure love. Love, love, love

-Silver, Camp Staff

Every moment with Sam was a gift. He made me feel safe, understood, cherished and happy. I will carry him with me forever.

– former camper

Sam is the Camp Winnarainbow Improv granddaddy of my family. When I began teaching improv at Camp he supported me. He also taught my daughters improv at Camp and my oldest now teaches at Camp. This summer my youngest will be adult staff for the first time and will likely teach. He will always be part of our family culture and of our joy in play and improv, and our hugging skills!

-Laura Sandage

To know Sammy Sam was to be inspired by him. Since he was a kid, he was bold, creative and outrageously funny. I met him in kindergarten at Prospect School in El Cerrito and spent many afternoons goofing off in Hebrew school. Back then it wouldn’t surprise anyone that he was a jokester, a storyteller and our ringleader…In addition to his fun loving nature, though, he really loved helping others harness their creativity and love in their own spirit and bring it into the world.

For me I will take from Sam that sense of possibility and to remember to laugh even when times are bad. His positivity and generosity of spirit are things I will try to apply throughout my life. I know Sammy will live on in me and all of you through the impact he had and the way he taught us to interact with the world around us – to leave everyone we meet happier for having spent time with us.

-Will L.