Friday, August 6, 2010

At camp, success measured in smiles

Camp Rainbow Gold expands to include more kids


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Camper Kalia enjoys the many exciting and special activities at Camp Rainbow Gold, which includes spending time with a pony. Photo by David N. Seelig

It was "Toes Up" time at Camp Rainbow Gold at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Toes Up is nap time for all campers at the retreat for Idaho children with cancer. The annual camp is held at Cathedral Pines, north of Ketchum off state Highway 75.

"There is no exception, they have to rest," said Kris Cronin, the camp's volunteer community relations director. Kronin had a golf cart full of campers taking them to their cabin for Toes Up. On the way, she asked if any of the campers needed their medications. No, they were having too much fun, the kids all agreed.

Campers had just finished a lunch of tater-tot casserole, a camp lunch tradition and one that receives the most comment on end-of-the-year evaluations, said Director of Family and Children Services Elizabeth Lizberg.

Lizberg, who is directing her third week of camp, said the experience has been amazing this year.

"Monday night was a fairy tale dance and the decorations were all about fairy tales," she said. "Campers were dressed up as the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and so much more, and they all had a ball."

Cronin continued dropping campers off at cabins and passed by the art tent, which is loaded with costumes, accessories and many items to make any idea a reality for campers to have fun, she said.

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"Counselors talk throughout the year through e-mail about camp activity themes and what they are going to bring with them," Cronin said.

Giving campers special opportunities, the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped brought its portable ring to Cathedral Pines. All the campers got to ride horses several times. In addition, campers made ice cream bowls for a pottery activity with a local Wood River Valley potter. An archery range at the camp has balloons that give campers a chance to win a dollar already in place if they hit their target. A pool party has been planned at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum.

When Cronin stopped by the dining hall, she picked up Grammy-nominated Western and country music recording artist Ashley Monroe. Monroe has returned for her second summer at Camp Rainbow Gold to teach campers songwriting.

"I love it," said a happy and bubbly Monroe. "One group told me they want to write a song that will make everyone cry. Another camper said I don't want to write a song today, which became the title of another song."

Monroe sang verses of that song, "I Don't Want To Write A Song Today," while Cronin continued to circle camp, showing off the girls' cabins and other camping sites, which all had festive decorations.

"This year is the first time in a long while we have had no losses," Cronin said. "We flew kites in celebration, which is the second time I have done that since I have been doing Camp Rainbow Gold for the past 11 years."

Cronin said camp usually has a memorial service for campers who did not survive through the year. The ability to serve more campers is the goal of Camp Rainbow Gold, which served 160 campers this year with three camps—a sibling camp, a teen camp and a youth camp.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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