The inaugural session of Here We Go Online was a wonderful success! Families participated in all camp activities that are familiar to our traditional camp experience, such as opening campfire, Stage Night, singing, and camp dancing! Roundup River Ranch provided songbooks and dance lessons, which led to live dances with web cameras, so families could all join in together. Camper families played together, laughed together, met neighbors, and shared in the joy of camp as a family!
As I reflected on where this journey of online camp started, my thoughts wandered to the letter I originally wrote to families in their 2020 Welcome Packet, designed for our traditional camp program:
In 2020, we are inspired by the strength and power of the camp community. Campers tell us that they become more comfortable in their own skin at camp because of the supportive and loving community – a community made up of other campers who dare to be vulnerable and share their story, passionate staff who are devoted to creating healing giggles and joyful experiences, and volunteers who are as unique and diverse as our campers.
At Roundup River Ranch, campers cease feeling alone and begin feeling like they are a part of something. That something is the powerful healing of connection, the inclusive togetherness of a camp family, and the strength to bravely charge forward. This powerful sense of community celebrates campers as individuals and then pulls them together into a strong community that represents joy, hope, laughter, and strength.
It is fascinating because nothing has really changed. Camp has been, and always will be, so much more than a place. It is a feeling. It is healing. It is acceptance. It is love. It is knowing that you are not alone. And this is exactly what our camper families experienced during virtual Family Camp 1. And just like when we are together on-site, camp is messy. Camp celebrates mistakes and the lessons that come from them. Camp is about being raw and authentic. Camp is about being present, over being perfect. Things weren’t perfect. But, we belly laughed. We learned. And we challenged ourselves to try new things. That is how growth happened. And that is how community was built. And that was and is CAMP.
A huge thank you to the camper families, volunteers, and staff who were brave enough to jump into Here We Go Online! Thank you for role modeling resilience, determination, community, and passion.
If you’re an interested camper family or you know a family that could benefit from our virtual programming head to RoundupRiverRanch.org/summer2020 to learn more.
My heart is filled with gratitude and admiration.
Sterling Nell Leija
Executive Camp Director