— by Lonni Leavitt-Barker, Capital Campaign Director
How many of you choose a “Word of the Year” each January? It’s a practice that has been around for a long time but is picking up steam as more people not only pick their word but share it on social media. Your word of the year is meant to set a tone, direct your focus, and help you achieve goals. You might think of a word like “challenge”, “balance”, “gratitude”, or “energy”.
Well, our word this year for Hidden Paradise is a little bit different than those — Infrastructure!
How We Got Here
We hope you’ve had a chance to either hear about or see for yourself the magical place we are building at Hidden Paradise, home of Camp Rainbow Gold.
If not, I’ll give you a little background. In 2019, Camp Rainbow Gold purchased 172 acres (a defunct golf course resort with timeshare cabins on-site) to build Hidden Paradise, Idaho’s first medically-designed, adaptive, accessible camp – to serve not only our cancer programs but also other nonprofits and organizations throughout Idaho.
In 2020, COVID forced our own CRG programs to a virtual format. Even though we had 200 participants in an online/camp-at-home format, our medical team challenged us to find a way to safely have face-to-face camps in 2021. So, we got creative and in less than 6 months, we remodeled 14 buildings, put in wheelchair ramps, ADA bathrooms, and demolished and covered up an old swimming pool to create an outdoor dining area. With strict COVID protocols in place, we pulled off four camps at our new property and had the benefit of a “soft opening” to help us evaluate our plans for the future.
And that’s just scratching the surface. You may not know this, but Blue Cross of Idaho has donated the funds to build a brand new health center on-site, and Blackrock Homes is building 12 news cabins and 2 shower houses (all ADA accessible) right down in the center of camp.
Our Word of the Year
Our dreams are big and our needs for this Camp are great. But while we were able to pull off a few miracles and will continue to push forward and hold more camps at Hidden Paradise this summer — we can’t forget the basics.
We need a strong foundation and the infrastructure in place to keep growing and moving forward.
What do we mean by infrastructure? We mean power, electricity, water, septic, and roads. We mean all of the basics that will help us to function year after year and to grow to our full master plan. The current infrastructure is not sustainable for the existing buildings or new construction. The existing power, water, septic system, and roads are all quite antiquated and in need of a serious overhaul.
Luckily, we’ve got some of the brightest in the business working on the plans and overseeing construction to make sure we do what is right for our campers now and for the future. But there’s lots of work to do and it all starts with infrastructure!
You can help!
Donate. Fundraise. Spread the word. Get involved! Our word of the year is only made possible by the strength of our community and through sponsors, donors, builders, partners, and volunteers. You can help us make our infrastructure dreams a reality so we can start bringing even more of the magic to Hidden Paradise!