“When I tell people about camp, I explain it’s somewhere fun, a place where you can truly be yourself, and you can meet people with the same diagnosis as you, and you can feel at home.”
Gabi is a 16-year old veteran 5th year camper at Roundup River Ranch from Colorado. Gabi has Celiac Disease, a serious autoimmune disease where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in small intestine, but she doesn’t let her disease define her one bit!vHer charisma and positivity shine at Roundup River Ranch, especially during cabin time with girls her age, who are going through similar life experiences.
At camp, sometimes the small things are actually the most important. Gabi’s favorite part of Camp Online was cabin time – a time when campers could sit back, and just be themselves. If you popped into Gabi’s cabin, the Tomahawks, you’d likely hear uncontrollable laughter as the girls chatted about random topics, showcased their pets, and came up with “mic dances” as they waited for their mics to turn on due to delays in technology. These seemingly simple and silly conversations are where the bonds of friendship form for these girls, evidenced by how they keep in touch year-round until they meet again at camp.
Gabi powerfully described camp as her second home “I feel like technically home is where the heart is – and that was true for virtual camp, no matter where you are you always feel that connection; virtually it had a lot of the same feelings, including not wanting to leave.”
At the final goodbye cabin session, Gabi and her cabinmates didn’t want to log off. The group lingered as long as possible with silly antics and planning on how to stay in touch after camp. The girls said their final goodbye at camp by “bringing it in” close to the computer cameras with hand gesture hearts before signing out!