National Volunteer Week: Volunteer Grace

During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate and recognize the amazing superhero volunteers that make camp possible. Get to know Volunteer Grace, one of our dedicated volunteers who brings so much joy and love to everything she does!

Q: What made you decide to volunteer with Roundup River Ranch?
A: Volunteering with Roundup River Ranch is like stepping into a world where being silly and playful is not just encouraged but celebrated. It’s a rare chance for adults to let loose and spread joy through playing.

Q: What keeps you coming back?
A: It’s the kids and the families. The bonds we create in just a few days are incredibly strong. Seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when they recognize familiar faces among the volunteers and staff is priceless. It’s fulfilling to know that I’m part of something that brings so much joy and support to these children and their families.

Q: Did you have any type of background that led you to this volunteer opportunity?
A: Growing up with a sibling who faced a life-altering diagnosis made me realize how much families like ours could have benefited from a place like Roundup River Ranch. We didn’t have anything like it back then, so now, being able to volunteer and support kids and families going through similar challenges feels like giving back in a way. It’s personal for me, knowing firsthand the difference a supportive and welcoming environment can make during tough times.

Q: What changes do you see in those you help? How does it feel when they have an “ah-ha” moment or a breakthrough with what you are helping them with?
A: It’s truly amazing to witness the transformations in the campers we help at Roundup River Ranch. Seeing them go from skepticism or hesitation on the first day to fully embracing the joyful, silly spirit of camp by the third day is incredibly rewarding. One of the most fulfilling moments is when you witness that “ah-ha” moment or breakthrough, especially with the older campers or those who initially seemed a bit reserved. For example, observing a boy who initially rolled his eyes at the camp’s playful nature, suddenly embracing it by donning a tutu from the costume closet, speaks volumes. It’s a sign that they’re letting down their guard, breaking through the walls they’ve built up and embracing their authentic selves in a safe and supportive environment. These moments are priceless because they signify not only a shift in attitude but also a newfound sense of freedom and acceptance. Seeing their joy and authenticity blossom is what makes volunteering at Roundup River Ranch so meaningful.

Q: What changes have you seen in yourself after volunteering? What do you notice about yourself, what do you notice about our community?
A: Volunteering at Roundup River Ranch has had a profound impact on me. I’ve noticed a shift in my own outlook, becoming more optimistic and positive overall. It’s amazing how spending time with these resilient campers and witnessing their strength and joy can really put things into perspective. It’s a powerful reminder not to sweat the small stuff and to focus on what truly matters. 

But it’s not just personal growth; I’ve also observed how the camp community brings people together from all walks of life. Whether it’s bonding with international seasonal staff or connecting with a fellow volunteer who happens to live nearby, but I hadn’t crossed paths with before, there’s a sense of unity and community that transcends boundaries. Despite our differences, we’re all drawn together by a common goal: bringing joy and support to the children and families at camp. It’s truly amazing to be part of such a diverse and inclusive community, where everyone comes together with open hearts and shared purpose (and a little bit of laughter too).

Q: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a volunteer? What advice do you have?
A: If someone is considering becoming a volunteer at Roundup River Ranch, I would wholeheartedly encourage them to take the leap and join our amazing community. Here’s some advice I would offer:

Embrace the experience: Be open to immersing yourself fully in the camp experience. Embrace the joy, the laughter and the silly moments. It’s a chance to let your inner child shine! Get messy, put your face in spaghetti, dance after breakfast!

Be flexible and patient: Volunteering at camp can be unpredictable, but that’s part of the adventure. Be flexible and patient, ready to adapt to changing situations and needs. Sign up for the opening campfire skit, even if you have stage fright!

Prioritize connection: Take the time to connect with the campers, fellow volunteers and staff members. Building relationships and forming bonds is what makes the experience truly special. My camp friends have become not only my best friends, but truly a family.

Celebrate the impact: Recognize the meaningful impact you’re making in the lives of the campers and their families. Even the smallest gestures can brighten someone’s day and create lasting memories. What you might see as a small moment, is a big moment to many of these families. Celebrate the bullseye (and the far misses too)!

Overall, I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to go for it with an open heart and a willingness to embrace the magic of camp. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience that will leave a lasting impression on both you and the campers you serve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to receive news & updates