— By Robert Brings CRG Volunteer-
I got involved with Camp in a roundabout way. One Saturday in May, my wife told me about a Facebook post by an old friend from high school band, who was looking for male volunteers for the upcoming summer. I had maybe heard about Camp from her or some other old friend, but had never considered volunteering there. I realized that by halfway through summer vacation all I do is sit around playing video games in the dark and I should do something productive with my time! If you are a teacher who is reading this (and don’t feel like reading the rest ) there is nothing better you could do with a week of your summer than being a volunteer for Camp Rainbow Gold.
My First Year
That first year, I halfheartedly filled out the application, skeptically attended volunteer training, begrudgingly packed for Camp and anxiously made the drive. After the first evening with the other volunteers and campers everything changed. The next morning, and every morning after, I eagerly got up, enthusiastically kicked a bunch of teenagers out of their bunks, persistently pushed them to meals and activities on time, and generally tried to put everything I could of myself into them having a great time. I haven’t felt reluctant to return to camp again. Those feelings have been replaced by anticipation for fun, bonding, exhaustion, excitement, and new memories.
Other than bottle caps, memories are the most plentiful thing we all bring home from Camp. Through these past years, I can think back on events that were happy, sad, triumphant, ridiculous, meaningful, empowering, and probably every other emotion. I hold all of these memories dearly. It’s wild for me to think that if my wife hadn’t seen that one Facebook post, or if I had just decided that video games were a better use of my time, if I hadn’t happened to be in band with two particular sisters fifteen years ago, I would never have met so many inspiring people or made so many lasting memories.
As a teacher, I consider myself to be very fortunate to have time during the summers to engage with a deserving community like the people of Camp Rainbow Gold. As much as I love rocks, trees, and dirt; it’s the people that have kept me coming back these past few years. I still consider myself to be a newcomer to the Camp Rainbow Gold organization, but from the first volunteer training, Camp leadership, counselors, and even the campers made me feel incredibly welcome. It is my hope that I can pass on their graciousness to future camps of volunteers and campers.