-Written by Sidni Garwood, Rainbows’ Volunteer Coordinator
Growing up, I remember looking forward to summer the second we returned to school from Christmas. Both of my parents were (and still are) teachers. So, together we mentally counted down the days until our well-deserved break arrived! Looking back, it’s funny how we anticipated this “vacation”. Our summers weren’t what you would consider relaxing. They were busy, jam-packed really, with various activities, road trips to see family, softball practice, house projects, weekend sporting tournaments, reading assignments for next fall’s English course, and my personal favorite – CAMPS!
When I think about memories from my childhood and teenage years, many of the most unforgettable revolve around the time I spent at summer camps. I attended numerous summer camps, ranging from church camp, to any and all forms of athletic camps. To say it simply: I loved camp.
But why? What about going to camp was so special to me? I think there is something truly magical about a summer camp experience. The people and friends you meet at camp create a unique type of community, where kids and staff come together to have fun. Within a typical camp setting, children and teens develop a sense of independence as they try new things away from home, and alongside their peers. Camps provide a safe environment where kids can explore, gain self-confidence, and potentially learn new skills as they attempt things they might not otherwise.
Maybe that’s why I fell in love with Camp Woodchuck when I joined the Rainbows’ team nearly 2 years ago. Camp Woodchuck provides this summer recreational experience, the one I enjoyed so much, to children and young adults with disabilities.
Camp Woodchuck provides awesome activities, as Campers will venture out on field trips to the YMCA, the Sedgwick County Zoo, and more. Some campers will participate in the legendary Voices of the Rainbow Camp Choir, where they perform a number of songs at local businesses, their first of which was this week. Annual Camp events, such as the Fashion Show, Talent Show, and Art Show, give Campers the opportunity to show off their skills and put their vibrant personalities on display.
Camp Woodchuck is a safe place. Children and young adults receive individual attention, assistance, and supervision as needed. The Camp staff is amazing and professional. At this camp, children with special needs get to be just like everybody else! What fun they will have and what wonderful memories they will surely make this year. Only two weeks in, I’m sure some Campers already have stories they will repeat for the entire year to come. It makes my heart happy to know children are at Camp Woodchuck today. And they’ll be there tomorrow, and the day after that. I hope they love it as much as I did!