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Woodchuck Adventure 2020: A safe summer experience

Camp Woodchuck Re-Imagined

Madison Jacobs has been working as a Rainbows’ Direct Service Provider for a little over 2 years and has navigated the challenges of providing After-School Latchkey and Camp Woodchuck at Kids’ Cove to now serving as a Lead DSP providing services for this year’s Rainbows’ Summer Services Program.  “Before this job, I had no previous experience working with kids and am really grateful to Rainbows for giving me the opportunity to grow myself and influence different kids’ lives,” she said.

“Before the pandemic, for a normal workday I started in the classroom by making the daily schedule and pairing up kids and staff to hang out together that day,” said Maddie.  “I also set up all kinds of fun activities, usually a variation of art and science activities, for the kids to do when they got to Rainbows.” 

Due to concerns with COVID-19, this year’s summer program, Woodchuck Adventure 2020, was adapted into an in-home Summer Camp experience.  “This year for Camp we have been creating a weekly plan of activities that the staff come and pick up,” said Maddie.  “The packets include everything they need for that week to do the hands-on activities one-on-one with their buddies and also the schedule of virtual activities for the kids.” 

“Last year I loved playing basketball, going on field trips and playing board games with all the kids in my room,” said Maddie.  “This summer, staff members are playing basketball, doing crafts and playing board games with the kids at their homes and going on field trips virtually.” 

Virtual activities include the annual Fashion Show, Talent Show and Art Show, a graduation award ceremony and virtual field trips to exotic locations such as Hawaii and a rain forest. “It has been very different for the kids and staff not being in a building with other people,” said Maddie.  “The kids definitely miss seeing their friends, but we’re connecting through the virtual activities. The staff also miss seeing each other, but we’re proud to continue providing services safely in the family homes.”

“My favorite part of the job is getting to know all the different personalities of each kid and understanding the things they love,” said Maddie.  “It’s different, but we still get to know the personalities and favorites of the kids.”

Maddie keeps busy in her off time. “I really enjoy playing with my dogs, going on runs, and maybe the weirdest- going to school!” said Maddie.  She is pursuing a degree in biology with an emphasis in medicine at Wichita State University, with the hope to go to medical school after graduating.