Reinventing Childhood


Camp Rainbow Gold has new digs in downtown Boise.

By Kristen Lynch
Photography CBH Homes

Summer camp–children playing, enjoying their youth, heedlessly splashing water-soaked paddles at camp counselors or donned in wild garments for an evening or improvisational skits. Endless rounds of raucous singing by a late night campfire. Above all, good fun and cheer at the crux of it. But what if your child had just finished a grueling round of chemotherapy, or was recuperating from a series of post-operative surgeries facing a long road of unknowns and uncertainties? How can children like these enjoy a normal camp experience?

The good news is that for Idaho children who receive such a diagnosis, Camp Rainbow Gold offers that small respite of normality and childhood, tailor-made for the bravest of children. Camp Rainbow Gold was conceived by Dr. Dave McClusky in the mid 80’s to meet the unique needs of cancer stricken children. What started as a small operation now helps hundreds of families every year. The camp has a complete medical staff and a host of lively counselors who help children and their families recapture a part of what they have lost to the cancer.

Here in Boise Camp Rainbow Gold’s administrative offices are now located in a historic building in the North End, just blocks away from the downtown St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. While this space currently houses the day to day operations and the bureaucratic side of Camp Rainbow Gold, they have more ambitious plans. In the future, the location will be a place to recoup while enduring treatments. Here, kids can relax in a comfortable and very un-clinical setting, lounging on an assortment of inviting sofas and playing games, or even just capturing a moment of solitude. This healing haven isn’t just the work of Camp Rainbow Gold. Corey Barton Homes, who stepped up on December 14th’s ‘Demo Day’, has been instrumental in remodeling efforts.

Holly Haener, Director of Sales and Marketing at Corey Barton Homes says, “We’ve been given the opportunity to update an older home for Camp Rainbow Gold and to ultimately provide a ‘home away from home’. This quiet home will provide children and their families a safe and inviting space to relax between treatments.”

Corey Barton Homes has gone above and beyond the call to arms, not just with time and volunteer efforts but also providing furnishings. Much of the community has come together to make this place a reality, and every day the little cottage comes closer and closer to finally providing that desperately needed respite from uncertain futures.

With this community-wide effort well underway, Camp Rainbow Gold will soon have their office conversion complete. Soon enough, weary eyed children and their families will step up to freshly-painted doors with smiles, setting aside their trials and tribulations for a quiet moment to appreciate the life that they have today. New light fixtures might not be the ray of hope they’re looking for, but it’s certainly a start.