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Camp Rainbow at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

 

KOA Care Camps


Your support of the Camp Rainbow Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital
makes a difference in the lives of children and teens who have, or have had
cancer or a chronic blood disorder.

On Sunday, July 31, excited campers arrived at Camp Rainbow ready to experience a week of fun and
friendship. For one week, these children and teens between the ages of 7 and 18 who have, or have had
cancer or a chronic blood disorder, got to be themselves and escape their toughest challenges at Camp
Rainbow held in Prescott, Arizona. For 20 years, KOA Care Camps has helped send many of these children
and teens to camp along with providing general support of the camp’s week-long operation. Additionally, for
the last two years, we had the opportunity to receive capital funds to purchase new equipment for camp.
We continue to be grateful for the partnership of KOA Care Camps and are pleased to present a report
detailing the impact of your generosity in 2016.

Camp Rainbow provides the opportunity for children and teens to engage in the fun experiences and new
skills that they may otherwise miss out on due to their illness. Children who are in wheelchairs or who have
been physically weakened by their condition get to fully participate in activities such as rock climbing or
sliding down a zip-line with the aid of equipment specially designed for them. The kids look around to see
all the others who are “just like them;” they share their stories and make lifetime friends.

In 2016, Camp Rainbow celebrated 32 years with the help of 104 campers and 100 staff and volunteers.
Campers participated in a variety of activities such as archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, music, fishing,
rock wall climbing, zip lining, sports, games, and horseback riding, and paddle boarding. The activities
continued with themed days such as Sports Day, Backwards Day, Crazy Sock Day, and Galaxy Day. Campers
also wrapped up camp by celebrating at a Back to the Future themed dinner where they dressed as
someone from their favorite decade. All campers had the full summer camp experience despite fighting two
of life’s biggest battles, cancer and chronic blood disorders.

As you can see from the photos above, campers really enjoyed the new additions to Camp Rainbow this
year thanks to the generosity of KOA Care Camps. 9 Square in the Air, similar to traditional 4 square but
larger and the “course” is above you, was a huge hit. Since water activities are so popular, the lifeguard
whistles helped volunteers keep campers safe. With the addition of the portable generator, certain
activities did not have to have such limited time options. Archery is always a favorite with campers so the
lighted arrows allowed campers to participate during the evening too. The GoPro camera was mounted to a
drone and recorded a view from the sky during the week of camp. Finally, campers enjoyed a night camping
under the stars and the light sabers were the perfect addition to this year’s theme of “In a galaxy far, far
away.”

Below are a few examples of Camp Rainbow’s past success in 2016 and how it greatly impacts the lives of
our patients and families. We hope this will convey how much your support means to the children and
families we serve. Thank you!

  • In the fishing area, the specialists told campers there was a monkey hiding in the woods and the
    campers had the opportunity to take water guns into the woods to try and find this monkey. They put a
    speaker in a tree and had monkey sounds coming out of it throughout the day and they put banana
    peels in the trees and on the ground.
  • A new camper, Serena, who is seven years old, told the Camp Director that she was excited, but a little
    bit nervous…then on day two she made sure to specifically stop by just to say “I just wanted to let you
    know that I’m having a really good time here.”
  • Our Young Adult Leadership Program was HUGE and it hasn’t been that big in a while. This program is
    for 17 and 18 year olds who are seniors or freshmen in college and want to come back to camp as a
    volunteer one day. They learn leadership skills, do a ton of team building activities, hang out with the
    cabins and set up the camp dance. Three girls and eight guys participated this past summer.
  • We partnered with Orbital ATK and they set up a Skype interview with Astronaut Captain Rommel. This
    was very popular in 2015 and is definitely becoming a favorite for campers. Orbital ATK’s employees
    also came up and helped our kids build paper rockets and they set them off during dinner one night.
  • Trevor has Down syndrome and just spent his fifth year at camp. He doesn’t participate in all of the
    activities that the other campers do, but this year, he rode a horse all by himself! For the past few years,
    his counselor has had to walk with the horse the entire ride, but Trevor did it all on his own this year so
    that is a huge accomplishment!
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s own Chef Butch and top Valley chef, Lenny Rubin, came to camp on the
    last night to cook a turkey and all the fixins’ meal for campers and staff. Lenny has won numerous
    awards and Butch recently joined the Phoenix Children’s family. The meal was amazing and completely
    donated.

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