The Lippert Components Charitable Giving Team this week (Aug. 7-11) volunteered at Camp Catch A Rainbow, a “stunning” 1,200-acre YMCA camp in Jackson, Mich. The facility is supported in part by KOA Care Camps, a system of 129 specialized summer camps located throughout North America providing weeklong summer camp experiences to children with cancer and, in some cases, their siblings and families.
“Camp Catch A Rainbow doesn’t just offer a free weeklong camp to children affected by cancer,” reported Michilah Grimes, Lippert Components Inc.’s director of philanthropic partnerships, regarding the charity that has been gaining support across the board recently in various niches of the RV and campground business. “They provide an opportunity that allows them to be who they are — a child laughing and playing outdoors. It gives them a chance to create lasting friendships with those that can truly understand what they are going through.”
More than 90 children were in attendance with activities ranging from an inflatable slip-n-slide to water gun fights and volleyball as well as arts and crafts, said Grimes, adding that LCI volunteers helped the kids play volleyball regardless of their limitations. They also helped make friendship bracelets and necklaces and decorate cupcakes.
Especially inspiring for Grimes was one LCI team member, Leah Benavente, who had spinal cancer as a teenager. “Once upon a time, I was a kid with cancer just trying to be normal,” she told Grimes. “It’s places like Camp Catch A Rainbow that give kids a safe place to just be a kid and not a cancer patient. Cancer changes your identity. The KOA Care Camps give it back.”
Grimes said charity-minded LCI, an RV and marine industry supplier based in Elkhart, Ind., started getting involved in the KOA Care Camps charity earlier this year after meeting with Wade Elliott, chairman of the Care Camps board of directors and president of the Utility Supply Group, a Washington State-based supplier of electrical pedestals to the RV park and campground business.
“I knew that day that I wanted to take our team to see the difference these camps are making in the lives of young children all across the country,” she told RVBUSINESS.com.