While with the Phillies, Rolen began visiting sick children in hospitals (insisting that no photographers tag along), and lent his time and gave money to various charitable organizations that aided children. Rolen, though, grew weary of writing checks earmarked for "general funds." So in 2001 he, Niki, his brother, Todd, and his sister, Kristie, established his own foundation to help children, the Enis Furley Foundation, named for his golden retriever-pointer mix. The foundation's mission was simple: to put smiles on the faces of kids who were ill or whose families had fallen on hard times. "We talked about putting up a tent in the middle of a cornfield, and we'd be the clowns," Rolen says. That whimsical notion grew into a lakeside outdoor-recreation retreat on 40 acres near Bloomington, complete with horses, cabins, miniature golf courses, canoes, and baseball and Wiffle ball fields. Rolen named the complex, which is expected to be completed next year, Camp Emma Lou, after his other dog, a black Labrador. Midwestern children in need and their families will be housed and fed, all expenses paid. The camp's motto is Live, love, laugh...and don't burn your marshmallow. "We're not pretending to cure anything," says Rolen. "What we want to do is help kids be kids."
Camp Emma Lou is part of the 98-acre parcel that Rolen purchased in 2001. "We're going to retire there, next to the camp," he says. "It'll be perfect."
Already, Rolen is in a very good place.