— By Owen Bridgewater Volunteer and Previous CRG Camper-
I first attended camp in the summer of 2010 when I was seven years old after being diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks before my sixth birthday. I remember having mixed emotions about going to camp and not knowing what to expect. It would be the first time I would be away from my parents and siblings for longer than a day and everyone there was a complete stranger. Although I do not remember too much of my first year at camp (except coming home and telling my mom that a girl had kissed me on the cheek at the dance), I immediately knew that I wanted to go back the next year.
Highlight of the Summer
As time has passed, the first five to six years have blended together, but it was always the highlight of my summer. The other kids and people that I met there seemed almost like a second family for one week of every year. It truly was a special place that someone has to experience to fully understand its magic.
A Warm Welcome
At camp, it was almost impossible to not love every moment of the week you were able to spend there. Everyone at camp had such a warm welcome from the moment you stepped off the bus, and the people there would do all they could to make sure you would be as comfortable and happy as possible throughout the week. There were endless activities planned and even when you were not interested in an activity, the volunteers would prompt you to try it or find something you did enjoy doing instead.
Some of my favorite childhood memories were made at camp. I remember whitewater rafting with my friends from the cabin, riding what felt like a 100 miles on the bike trails around camp, and dancing the night away while everyone wore crazy costumes.
Leaving Fear Behind
While attending camp, nobody thought about cancer. Everyone forgot for that week about their diagnosis, the treatments they had gone through or were currently undergoing, and their doctor appointments. All of that fear and worry were left at home and we were able to just have fun and be normal kids again. No price can be put on this feeling and I think this is why every camper will tell you that the week at Camp Rainbow Gold is the best week of the year.
Beyond being blessed with a multitude of happy moments and memories as a camper for 10 years, last year I was also awarded a CRG Scholarship. Attending college would not be possible for me without scholarships and I am immensely grateful for being selected as a recipient of this. Receiving this scholarship also got me involved as a volunteer for this amazing organization. I feel so fortunate to be able to give back to an organization that has done so much for me. Thank you for everything CRG!