By Elizabeth Lizberg, CEO/Executive Director —
1983. 2003. 2007. 2014. 2019.
These are just a few of the years that symbolize turning points and milestones in Camp Rainbow Gold’s incredible history. And now, we’re just a few days away from adding another one to the list — 2021.
This summer we are moving into our new home, Hidden Paradise. This has been a moment both many years in the making and, to all our surprise, a few years ahead of schedule. Many people may be eager to write off the past year and make it something to be forgotten. And it was a year full of loss, challenges, and struggles.
Our pandemic year began with the cancelation of our main fundraising event, Share Your Heart Ball, just two days before it was supposed to happen. We canceled our in-person camps and developed entirely new programming for a virtual “Camp at Home” experience. Everything had changed. But we decided early on to take a different approach when it came to Camp Rainbow Gold. We mourned the losses, but health and safety stayed at the forefront. And then we started celebrating the lessons we learned and feeling unbelievably grateful for the community that surrounds us.
The Camp Rainbow Gold family wrapped their arms around and said, “Don’t worry – we got this.” Our donors said, “You can keep my donation and what else do you need?” Our volunteers asked, “How can we help?” The community called and checked on us.
As we wrapped up a second virtual program for Fall Family Camp, our minds were made up. We were going to get these kids back to camp — masked face to masked face — whatever we needed to do to keep them safe and give them the magic of camp that they need so much.
Back to Camp!
And our opportunity was (certainly not ready yet, but) waiting on the Camas prairie. Demolition, construction, and repairs started before the snow began to fly. And it’s been going nonstop since. We set our minds to make a camp that could safely welcome our kids — and everyone we needed answered the call. Roofing, painting, electricians, water, floors, blinds, and beds. Outdoor dining and a working kitchen. Bike trails, a ropes course, archery, and art.
We’re back to basics and this year is going to be different. But it’s going to be CAMP!
Camp Rainbow Gold’s mission has always been about helping children become empowered to build relationships that provide hope, love, and fun. And while we were empowering our campers, we were also empowering our organization, our lives, friendships, and relationships by always investing in our values and staying true to our mission.
Don’t stay stagnant. Get creative. Ask for help.
Hard is not impossible, it is opportunity. And we’re living it right now.
2021 – Camp Rainbow Gold hosts the first camp at Hidden Paradise.