Camp Woodchuck is magical, but it doesn’t just magically happen without the time, talents and dedication of many Rainbows’ staff and volunteers. This is the story of the volunteers.
After three years of in-home summer services (due to the pandemic), extra preparation was needed in order to welcome Rainbows’ youth back to Camp at Kids’ Cove, and our corporate volunteers stepped up! In the months leading up to Camp Woodchuck, 100 corporate volunteers logged over 500 hours working on Kids’ Cove.
DeVaughn James Injury Law Offices’ staff and their families spent a morning weeding, mulching, trimming trees, and cleaning. Eby Construction volunteers renovated our safe room, built a concrete ramp leading to the backyard stage, and repaired the basketball court, pouring new concrete and making the court accessible for all Campers. Volunteers from McConnell’s 349th Air Refueling Squadron power washed fences and spread mulch, and a group from the National Guard moved an industrial freezer into the Kids’ Cove kitchen. Volunteers from Spirit then deep cleaned the facility, insuring a magically clean Camp experience for Rainbows’ youth and Camp staff. As the final volunteer event pre-Camp, volunteers from Chi Epsilon inventoried the hundreds of supplies donated through the Camp Supply Drive and sorted and labeled Camp t-shirts for all youth and staff. All of this and Camp hadn’t started yet!
Once the 59 Campers arrived, volunteers were needed to help make the magic happen for the youth. Fifty volunteers logged more than 300 hours in less than 2 months. Evergy volunteers brought flowers and soil and spent a morning helping Campers plant flowers in pots to beautify the back yard. Evergy also completed the spreading of the giant pile of mulch. Community Helpers from the Wichita Fire and Police Departments, McConnell Air Force Base, Evergy, and Cox Communications provided an interactive, touch-a-truck experience for the youth with patrol cars, firetruck, bucket trucks and the bomb squad, complete with a robot!
Camp Woodchuck events provide Rainbows’ youth with the opportunity to show their unique personalities through the Fashion, Talent, and Art Shows. Campers are also treated to Carnival and Spa Days. Volunteers add the fun, sparkle and yes, magic, to the events. Exclusive Events surprised the youth with appearances by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Spidey. Sarah, a volunteer from Fidelity Bank, sparkled as the Ice Princess. Textron Aviation volunteers were limbo masters, tattoo artists, refreshment hosts, and more. Rainbows’ President Gay Kimble and the Executive Leadership Team helped with fainting and games. Students from Eric Fisher Academy provided hair styling and makeup; and Sean DiGiovanni and Annika Wooten were engaging emcees for the Talent and Fashion Shows. Morgan Stanley-Wichita volunteers stepped in to create an afternoon of pampering with manicures and massages for the Campers. As in any spa, conversation was a big part of the “services”, giving Campers a chance to practice their social skills while touching the hearts of the volunteers. That’s the magic.
We had 2 volunteers who spent the summer with Rainbows. Gladys Miller retired last year after xx years with Rainbows. This summer she returned to Rainbows as a weekly volunteer. Twenty-two-year-old Megan Bailey is a former Rainbows’ child currently pursuing her degree at Wichita State University. Megan volunteered 3 days a week, shadowing Rainbows’ Volunteer Coordinator and volunteering in classrooms and Camp Woodchuck. Gladys and Megan are special people with a deep love for Rainbows. The kids love them, and their dedication to Rainbows is greatly appreciated!
Another magical summer at Camp Woodchuck is coming to a close, but there are many volunteer opportunities with Rainbows available throughout the year. If you would like to volunteer, contact Melani Kliewer, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.