“If it’s going to happen, I want to be part of it. Camp is something that I’ll always make time for, whether it be online, in-person, or after work one day at a Camper Reunion. Camp is always at the top of my priority list.”
Meet Patsy, a longtime volunteer and former seasonal staff member at Roundup River Ranch. Patsy joined our camp family back in 2017, and since then she has been a passionate rockstar supporter for our campers. She first heard about Roundup River Ranch at college through a friend who volunteered at one of our sister camps in Florida, Camp Boggy Creek. “When my friend told me that there was an entire network of camps across the country, I did some searching and knew that Roundup River Ranch, in the beautiful state of Colorado, was going to be my new home.”
Patsy’s passion for camp has been with her since she was just a kid attending traditional summer camp every year. She shared that from a very early age, camp was something special and something she knew she wanted in her life forever. “I truly believe that your camp self is your best self. Even when I’m not at camp, I’m inspired to be that version of myself every single day out in the real world.”
With our pivot in 2020 to virtual programs, Patsy shared that she was originally a little reluctant at what virtual camp would be like. “One of the most special parts about camp are the random, silly, unplanned moments and conversations we have with our campers. I was nervous that in a virtual setting, things would be too structured, and we wouldn’t feel that same connection – but I was wrong! I had so many special moments this summer when I was able to just talk about life and connect with my campers in a very easy, organic way online.”
After volunteering for so many years, Patsy shared with us how diverse her experiences are year over year, and how each experience is special in its own way. One of Patsy’s favorite moments volunteering with Roundup River Ranch was back in 2018 – a moment that occurred before Candle Chat started. “A few of us were just lying there outside, looking up at the stars, and one of my campers looked at me and said ‘I’m just really happy to be here.’ That moment has stuck out to me ever since because it just shows how important every space is for these campers to share. It truly is home away from home for so many of us.” Patsy said this same feeling of ‘home’ translated well into her virtual camp experience. Seeing campers smile, have fun, and connect with each other on-screen is something very unique.
We’re proud to have friends like Patsy as a part of our Roundup River Ranch volunteer family. The joy, light, and passion she brings to our campers every single day inspires us. When asked why camp is important for children with serious illnesses she shared, “Now more than ever, the world is a hard place to live in. But Roundup River Ranch, and virtual camp, is a very easy place to be in. It’s a safe place to fail. It’s a safe place to not have all the answers. It’s a safe place to just be yourself. These kids come to camp and get to make their own decisions, challenge themselves, and be their own people. It’s such an empowering and uplifting space.”