Introducing Hiwot – originally from Ethiopia!

“Fun. Special. Adventurous.” is how Hiwot describes Roundup River Ranch.

Meet Hiwot, a 12-year-old returning camper from Castle Rock, Colo. who loves to read and write stories. Hiwot and her family have participated in Roundup River Ranch programs for the last three years. Her mom, Shannon, first heard about Roundup River Ranch from Children’s Hospital Colorado. Hiwot is living with a blood disorder and struggles with feeling different from her friends. Roundup River Ranch is the only opportunity for her to have a camp experience, and have fun with other kids who face similar challenges.

“It is difficult for traditional camps to manage medical and developmental issues that our three kids face. Roundup River Ranch has been life-changing for all our kids. They have renewed self-confidence when they come back from camp and make connections that are so important,” shared Shannon.

When Hiwot found out camp was not happening on-site this year due to the pandemic, she was sad, but knew Roundup River Ranch would make it a fun camp experience either way.

“The singing and dancing is going to stay with me forever. But, one special moment I had during virtual Day Camp was meeting my first online camp friend.”

One activity Hiwot missed this year from Summer Camp on-site was horseback riding, and she can’t wait to get back to those traditional camp activities. However, in the meantime, she is learning new things at online camp, like making a catapult out of home supplies.

Shannon explains why camp is important now more than ever and why Roundup River Ranch is needed for families like hers for many years to come.

“I believe in kids having connection with peers that share their same challenges is beneficial. Also, it’s rare for families of children with significant needs to ever get a break from the 24/7 demands of caring for their kids. Kids with significant needs rarely get a “day off” from their illnesses. They often feel different from their peers and it can be hard to feel accepted. Roundup River Ranch gives the entire family a way to feel normal for just a little while.”

Camp is always free of charge thanks to the support of many members of our camp community. This type of support for parents, like Shannon, is crucial and truly makes a difference.

“We parent five children with extraordinary medical and developmental needs. We would never be able to afford to send just one child to camp, much less three of them. I can’t even imagine how much it costs to run Roundup River Ranch, but we are unbelievably grateful that for one week of each year, our kids get to experience the joy and inclusion that Roundup River Ranch brings. THANK YOU!

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