For the next year, BoiseDev will partner with Camp River Run as part of our Boost community partnership program. With 50 worthy applicants, the process of picking just one was one of the most difficult things we’ve done in our five years. Each member of the BoiseDev team had a say in whittling down the applicants, and ultimately picking Camp River Run.
Founded in 2008, Camp River Run helps give children aged seven to 17 the full camp experience each summer. Kids with a life-threatening illness or disabling/ongoing medical condition are eligible, and campers spend four days in the Idaho wilderness being a kid. From autism to down’s syndrome to heart challenges and cancer, kids of all types come together for the camp.
Camp River Run – not to be confused with Camp Rainbow Gold – added a new executive director in 2020, Amanda Stone. With the pandemic and lots of change in society, the organization is looking to grow.
Last year, they welcomed 18 campers. This summer, they’re hoping for 50.
“Camp is four days and three nights,” Stone said. “We’re going to Hidden Paradise in Fairfield. Each kid gets their own counselor, plus a medical team and an activities team. If we have 50 kids, there will be 70 volunteers helping from the time kids get up, until kids go down.”
Camp River Run is working on expanding on all fronts. Adding volunteers, looking for board members and funding. Stone said that with COVID disruptions, finding campers for the free program has even been a challenge.
“I know that they are out there. In the school districts, they’ve been so busy with COVID they haven’t had time to focus on outside things.”
The camp has a process to help ensure kids are comfortable and ready for camp.
“The application process is really simple,” Stone said. “Someone, typically a parent, will put information in because we have to have medical information. Then, we like to have those kids come to one of our day camps. It helps the child gets familiar with who we are, as well as the parents. It’s really difficult to have the parent drop a kid off to strangers… they typically have been caregivers forever.”
After the day camp, if everything fits and makes sense, the kids will head up to camp in July.
Typical camp activities like decorating doors, spending time in the water, and more mix in with individualized attention for each camper.
Once a child becomes eligible for Camp River Run, they can go year after year — even if they have a medical diagnosis that isn’t lifelong.
“Once you are camp eligible, you stay camp eligible. We’ve had kids start at seven and go all the way to age 17. They love camp — and some of those kids have even gone on to become camp counselors.”
How you can help
Camp River Run is funded mostly by individual donors.
“About 80% of our funding comes from individuals,” Stone said. “We have not had big corporate sponsors. We landed one and we were so excited!”
They hold two fundraisers – with a golf tournament set for the end of this month on April 29th. Swingin’ for Dreams is set for Lakeview Golf Club in Meridian. Team registration is $400, and $100 for individuals.
Then the Share in the Dream event, which takes place next February. In between, smaller fundraisers and Idaho Gives also help raise money.
Stone said they are also looking for additional corporate donors, volunteers — and of course, kids. You can contact Camp River Run here.
Throughout the year, BoiseDev and Idaho First will highlight some of Camp River Run’s programs, and mission and help get the word out.