By Holland Barker, Camp Rainbow Gold Scholarship Recipient and Former Camper —
Camp Rainbow Gold will forever be my second home. I have made the greatest connections, memories, and friendships from being a camper at CRG. After my little brother, Kean was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, one of the doctors suggested that my sisters and I attend Camp Rainbow Gold’s Sibling’s Camp. We had never been away from home for more than a couple of nights and my parents were hesitant at first but after some discussion, they finally decided to let us go. It was the best decision.
We boarded buses in Boise, Idaho, and drove four hours to Sun Valley for a week filled with fun activities and lots of laughs. Camp was the perfect break from the trials we were going through at home. Some of my favorite memories from camp are dressing up for the big dance, shining at every meal, raiding our friend’s cabins, campfires and singalongs, archery, river rafting, and the wishcone ceremony.
The wishcone ceremony holds a special place in my heart. Before the wishcone ceremony, every camper and counselor took a piece of paper and wrote down wishes (usually relating to family or friends battling cancer) and then attached the wishes to a pinecone. Then, the night before everyone went home, a big campfire was held where beautiful songs were sung and spiritual moments occurred. One by one, we would drop our pinecones into the fire and watch as our wishes went up to the sky. Lots of tears were shed and the connections were strong as we all hugged and cried together.
Camp Rainbow Gold is the place where I felt understood and treated normally as a sibling of a kid with cancer. Every summer, I looked forward to going to camp and being surrounded by my best friends. I look forward to the day when I will be able to volunteer as a camp counselor and give other kids the same experiences.