— By Jordan Diaz, Camp Rainbow Gold Volunteer-
This summer I had the privilege of volunteering at my first summer camp for Camp Rainbow Gold. After many years of hearing about the magic that is camp from the one and only Stacie Tornga, I was so excited when the timing finally aligned and I was able to make the commitment to spend a week up at Hidden Paradise as a counselor for youth camp. I wanted to volunteer for CRG as a way to give back to my community, and because cancer has touched the lives of some of my dearest friends and family.
The CRG Community
Prior to camp, I was filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. I worried about putting myself out there in this new experience and hoped that I could truly fulfill the role of being a counselor that helps make it one of the most magical and memorable weeks for the campers. After leaving the training and going shopping for cabin decorations with my co-counselors, I felt those worries disappear as I felt immediately welcomed by leadership and the other volunteers. The positivity and energy coming from CRG staff and volunteers alike was inspiring, and it was immediately clear how supportive and inclusive the CRG community is.
As I look back on my week at camp, I’m filled with so many amazing memories. While the weather didn’t always cooperate and plans sometimes changed, the entire staff and campers maintained their positive attitudes, and we had an amazing activity-filled week! The Wizard of Oz cabin enjoyed things like art shack, riding horses, mountain biking, archery, raiding other cabins, and a safari themed carnival night. One of my absolute favorite memories was watching my campers race little rc cars around a make-shift track, laughing maniacally as they drove their cars off the track and flipped them over, and then waited for the guys to return their cars to the track, only to do it all over again.
Seeing the Magic
On the final day of camp, we got to watch a recap video of our week. It was incredible to watch all of the amazing fun that we were able to pack into just one week and to reflect back on the relationships that were built and the kindness that was shared. Though it may have been one of the busiest and most exhausting weeks of my life, the magic that happened that week is undeniable, and I can’t wait to do it again next summer!