By Rae Hess, Camp Rainbow Gold Scholarship Recipient and Former Camper —
I was diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma when I was seven and have been in remission for about 12 years. Attending Camp Rainbow Golds’ summer camps from 2010 to when I aged out in 2019 after I graduated high school. I also attended their Survivors Supporting Survivors groups and did my high school senior project for CRG, mentoring one on one with a member of CRG staff.
Attending the summer camps and being around the CRG community is something I will forever cherish. Having a haven to disconnect from a busy world, and surrounding yourself with happiness was something I always looked forward to in the year. My treatment, restrictions, and unhealthy thoughts were all forgotten the second I would step into Camp Rainbow Golds community. After I graduated from the Youth and Teen camps, I planned to become a junior volunteer but mental health struggles, employment, and sadly covid-19 have kept me from doing so. So last year I decided to enroll in college.
I am currently going into my second year at The College of Western Idaho studying for an associate in Geosciences, planning to transfer to the University of Idaho to complete a bachelor’s in Geosciences, minoring in Climate Studies. While it is my second year at CWI, it’s my first semester studying and working in areas I am deeply passionate about. In my first year, I changed my studying major many times. Even before the year even started!
I knew that I wanted to get a higher education, just unsure about what kind of impact I wanted to make. I went in wanting to study Art History, then Anthropology, not super set on those. Changed it to Liberal Arts and started the semester off set on Criminology, the study of criminal and judicial behavior. I wanted to see how our justice system worked, and what kinds of things needed to be changed to better benefit those who it is used against. But after a firsthand look in the field, it was not something I would have liked to pursue.
That same semester I took a geoscience class as one of my electives. Everything earth science related has been a passion of mine since I was in elementary school. Being homeschooled for a brief period during my chemotherapy treatment, there were a handful of lessons regarding Earth Science. Things like weather, different types of cloud formations, what’s in our soil, and the layers of the Earth. A memory of labeling the different types of clouds that were in the sky from our driveway my dad, I fell in love with it at that point in time.
While studying Geosciences was my very first and initial thought for what I wanted to pursue, I decided against it because it was just something I didn’t think I was capable of. I’ve never been really good at math, a majority of the studies being math and chemistry related. From missing a majority of school being in treatment and my physical restrictions, I wasn’t able to keep up the pace compared to everyone else.
This mindset I had created for myself, kept me from pursuing something I really loved. When I learned that I was one of the scholarship award recipients, I changed my mind. I didn’t want to use this opportunity given to me to further fuel that attitude I had given against myself. I changed my major to Geosciences that same week. Camp Rainbow Gold has always given me the motivation to go further, to push myself past the bounds I created for myself. They have shown me that I am more than I think.
CRG proves to their volunteers, staff, directors, all the campers and families involved, that you are not restricted. They shine on the promise that you have a life worth celebrating. Going into this new semester, Camp Rainbow Gold has shined on me again with this change of thought, and new opportunities to celebrate my life.
This new thought wasn’t the only thing their scholarship has brought me. Camp Rainbow Gold Scholarship heavily reduced the costs accompanied by my chosen path. This alone is the reason I can attend CWI, and continue my journey. I will forever be appreciative of the memories and experiences Camp Rainbow Gold has given me; they’ve helped me celebrate the little things in life.
I shine for you CRG!