There’s a new vehicle parked in the lot at our Boise distribution center, but it doesn’t belong to the Idaho Youth Ranch. You might say we’re “fostering” it here; keeping it safe and sheltered until it’s called into service for some very special children.
The 36-foot trailer belongs to Camp Rainbow Gold. It is a pediatric mobile clinic that provides medical care to kids and families who attend Camp Rainbow Gold’s July summer camps. When it’s not at camp, the trailer, affectionately named the Med Shack, has a new off-season home in the secure lot at Idaho Youth Ranch headquarters.
Each July, Camp Rainbow Gold runs three weeks of summer camps at >Cathedral Pines in Sun Valley. The first week is for the siblings of cancer survivors, and the second two weeks are for kids who are diagnosed with cancer themselves.
All the camps are staffed with a medical team of directors and nurses, but the second two weeks also have an oncology doctor on site at all times. The trailer, affectionately known as the Med Shack, provides a clean, sterile environment for delivering any type of medical care on the spot, not just oncology services. The Med Shack contains two beds, a nurse’s station, bathroom, and shower, and treatment facilities.
“The Med Shack is a more medically inclusive environment than we’ve ever had at camp, which means we can serve more campers with a higher level of care,” said Steven Gassert, Camp Rainbow Gold’s Program Director. “And it allows us to bring more of our fragile kids to camp, who might not have been able to go otherwise.” This July was the Med Shack’s first time in use, and it worked out beautifully for everyone involved.
“The Tunney Foundation and FUNDSY provided a lot of support to make the Med Shack possible for us,” Gassert added. “And IYR has also been a great contributor. It’s a huge help to have secure parking.”
Camp Rainbow Gold’s downtown Boise office had no parking options for a 36-foot vehicle. Because they are one of IYR’s community partners, someone on the staff wondered whether IYR might have space at its Boise distribution center. Elizabeth Lizberg, Camp Rainbow Gold’s Executive Director, reached out to Idaho Youth Ranch CEO Steve Woodworth and VP of Social Enterprises Jeff Myers.
“Steve and Jeff jumped right on board and have been amazing ever since,” said Gassert. “And IYR’s involvement with camp goes even further than storing the Med Shack for us.” He explained that all the summer camps have an “art shack” on site with costumes, props, and art supplies, much of which is now coming from IYR thrift store donations. “They asked us for a wish list of things we needed to stock the art shack and started keeping an eye out for incoming donations they could save for us,” he said.
Gassert said that his agency’s long-term goal is to reach out to other community organizations and look for possible opportunities to make the mobile clinic available to other youth-oriented groups in the off-season. To learn more about Camp Rainbow Gold, its work with children and families, and its summer camps visit their site.