Meet Zach, a 13-year old returning camper from Colorado. He has participated in Roundup River Ranch programs for the past four years. He attended his first week of Summer Camp when he was nine years old.
Zach’s family first heard about Roundup River Ranch through his kidney doctor. Zach is living with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disease that causes damage to the tiny filters inside his kidneys. There is no cure, but treatments can help prevent more damage to the kidneys.
When Zach found out camp was actually going to happen online this year – he was very excited. “Even if we’re not physically at camp, the online version was pretty close to it. It felt like the same camp in many ways. I liked it a lot, and I was really happy.”
The excitement for camp online really kicked in for Zach when his Camp Kit arrived at his door. When he opened the box, he was thrilled to see the familiar wood cookie necklace inside. It was just like starting his first day at camp! Zach proudly displays his collection of wood cookies in his bedroom. It’s his way of remembering each unique Roundup River Ranch experience, and he likes to decorate them differently.
“I have about 20 wood cookies! I like saving them because they remind me of all the fun times I’ve had at Summer Camp, Camper Reunions, and Ambassador events. When I look at them, it also makes me look forward to my next camp experience.”
When not attending one of Roundup River Ranch’s camp programs, you can find Zach swimming, building Legos, or just hanging out with his family (Zach is the oldest of three siblings).
One thing Zach really missed this year from Summer Camp on-site was the No-Hands Spaghetti Dinner, and slurping noodles with his camp friends. That will be something he looks forward to when he returns. But this summer, he was very pleased to have had the opportunity to create new memories with his cabinmates online.
“Candle Chat was nice and fun to experience it at home. I really enjoyed it. It was easier for me to open up because it was virtual. You don’t have to see people watching you, and not everybody has to look at you. I get shy when it comes to speaking in a room full of people, so it was a nice change. I opened up a little more to my friends.”
The spirit of camp is something that will always stay with Zach forever, and he hopes that more kids like him get a chance to visit Roundup River Ranch.
“I wish every little kid with a disorder or disability could come and see camp, because it’s really fun and I know they would love it.”
Did you know? You can support life-changing year-round programs for campers just like Zach. When you donate to Roundup River Ranch today, your gift will be matched DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR – meaning double your impact! Learn more at RoundupRiverRanch.org/give.