Each month a few of our volunteers will be sharing stories, memories, tips, and more! This month, meet Taylor Knapp, a long-time member of the CRG family, and Abbie Ellison, a first-year volunteer in 2021.
Taylor Knapp, CRG Volunteer —
I have a lot of favorite Camp memories. Some sad, many inspiring, some very deep that writing in a short story would not make sense. I will share one of my favorite inspirational stories from a young girl I had in my cabin a few years ago.
It was her first year at Camp, and she was only about 8 months post bone marrow transplant (meaning she had been fighting cancer for quite some time). Our cabin had been out on a bike ride for about an hour and we knew the girls were getting tired, so we called for a golf cart to take the girls back to the cabin. When the golf cart arrived, the girls hopped on, except for this particular girl. I asked if she wanted a ride back and she said, “No, I think I am close to getting the hang of riding a bike and want to ride it back. It will be good practice for me since I haven’t been able to ride for a long time.”
That right there shows what kind of fighters we have at the Camp. These kids have a very special attitude in more than overcoming cancer. Thinking about the way she handled wanting to become better at something still inspires me to this day.
Abbie Ellison, CRG Volunteer —
I had initially found Camp Rainbow Gold while searching for volunteer opportunities that I could participate in while spending my summer in Boise. A camp counselor position seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to my community while enjoying the beautiful summer weather of southern Idaho. The staff at Camp Rainbow Gold was incredibly supportive in helping me prepare for my first time at Camp. They provided me with a plethora of information and resources and were always available to answer my questions and resolve any concerns I had about being equipped for this position.
When I arrived at Hidden Paradise for Camp this summer, I was overwhelmed with nerves and excitement for what the next week had in store. I had never participated in a camp counselor role before, but Jesse, my co-counselor in the purple cabin, was a fantastic resource for getting me acquainted with the camp environment and preparing me for the week ahead. Some of my fondest memories at camp include dancing and singing our hearts out on carnival night, endless runs down the slip ‘n slide, and laughing with the girls during story time before lights out. Although being a camp counselor can be tiring at times, there was nothing more gratifying than watching my campers enjoy the activities and camp atmosphere while fostering new relationships with their cabinmates.
I had originally sought out this opportunity as a way to give back to the communities of Idaho that have helped me so much in my own personal development. I soon came to realize that I had been given so much more than I could have ever imagined of giving back by volunteering my time. Camp has made me a much more outgoing individual and aided in my own personal development, far more than I had ever expected. If there is one thing I wish I would have known going into Camp, it is that I would come out of this experience with amazing friends and memories that will last a lifetime. What started out as Camp relationships have quickly blossomed into some of my dearest friends. I am incredibly grateful for the personal growth and relationships I have established through this organization, and I can’t wait to return to Camp this summer!
For new volunteers or those interested in volunteering but are unsure, I would urge you to pursue this opportunity. Camp Rainbow Gold is an amazing organization, and your takeaways from Camp will be well worth the time commitment. I would encourage you to reach out to your co-counselors prior to arriving at Camp. They can provide you with the best advice and ease your worries regarding your position. Camp can be draining with many hours in the sun, so don’t forget to take care of yourself, but most importantly, just have fun and enjoy your time at Camp Rainbow Gold!