Each month a few of our volunteers will be sharing stories, memories, tips, and more! This month, hear a word about 2021 from long-time CRG-er Max Musser and learn more about joining the Leadership Team from the new Teen Camp Director, Tara Jefferies.
Max Musser, CRG Volunteer —
My experience at camp last year in 2021 — even though was like my eighth year — felt like my first all over again. Without having an in-person Camp in 2020, being at our forever home for the first time, plus being in a role I’ve never been in (at a Camp session I’ve never been to)… I had no idea what to expect!
But it might have been my favorite year yet and definitely one of the most rewarding. Working with quite possibly the greatest leadership team ever assembled I got to be a part of the hard work put in months prior to camp and then see it all come together in such an incredible, chaotic, and special way for an epic first year of youth camp at Hidden Paradise.
Tara Jefferies, Teen Camp Director —
I was first introduced to Camp Rainbow Gold in 2011 by a classmate at ISU. A few of us from our nursing program volunteered that summer at Sibling Camp, and I immediately knew Camp would always be a part of my life. I loved that Camp provided a place for silliness, fun, self-expression, love, challenge, and growth. I volunteered the following summer, then life got in the way. I returned to camp in 2017. There is no other place like Camp Rainbow Gold! My heart and soul missed camp, and I was grateful to be back. I have volunteered in multiple roles including a counselor, nurse, Activities Director, and now Teen Camp Director.
As a new volunteer, I remembered being in awe of the leadership team. Despite constantly getting calls on the radio and having meetings, they seemed to be everywhere making camp run smoothly. Who were these fun, smart, kind, energetic people with the radios and golf cart keys? After being a volunteer at Sibling Camp for several years, I was invited to join the leadership team for Teen Camp in 2021 as the Activities Director. I was overwhelmed and humbled. When I agreed to be a part of leadership, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I knew I would get to drive the golf cart. I’m so grateful for the experience.
Being a part of leadership is a lot of brainstorming, planning, creative problem solving, and organizing. It’s incredibly rewarding to make ideas come to fruition and to see the impact they have on campers. One of my favorite experiences at camp in 2021 was The Impact Room. Shortly before Teen Camp, plans changed, and we had to come up with an alternate activity at the last minute. I loved the challenge of pulling things together with little time. When the afternoon for The Impact Room rolled around, it poured! Again we had to be flexible and change our plans. There was a break in the rain, and we took full advantage of it. The Impact Room was back on! We talked about emotions and feelings and different ways of coping with them. Campers donned protective gear, then went to work smashing dishes, watermelons, pies, tomatoes, etc. to release their emotions. Watermelon juice and jello went flying! The Impact Room was a fun, messy, and powerful experience.
Leadership is more than meetings and putting out fires. I loved the teamwork and camaraderie of the leadership team. It always feels good to know you are a part of something bigger than yourself and to see what can be accomplished with all the efforts of a group of talented people. Spending time with each of the cabins and getting to know all of the campers and volunteers is definitely a huge bonus.
I’ll never forget how much fun we had scheming all week to come up with the most epic prank. Our script should be adapted for a screenplay. I’m still in awe that the entire camp was able to prank the oldest boys’ cabin without anyone spilling the beans. All the cabins arrived early to circle up and were armed with water balloons. The oldest boys’ cabin arrived “late”, so they had to sing. While they were deciding on what song to sing, they were hit with a surprise attack as the whole camp bombarded them with water balloons and super soakers. (Don’t worry, this was payback and well-deserved!)
I’m overwhelmed and humbled again this year as I take on the role of Teen Camp DIrector. I have a great team, and I look forward to the challenge of creating another magical week at camp. I can’t wait for tater tot casserole, “ghosting”, water fights, pranks, the Banana Dance, and campfires.