History of Camp Rainbow Foundation

After visiting a seriously ill child in the hospital, whose one wish was to go to summer camp, Allen Brockman of St. Louis set out to make this child’s dream a reality. In the summer of 1988, his vision was realized with the birth of Camp Rainbow. That first summer, Camp Rainbow hosted 28 seriously ill youngsters at a week-long outdoor camp held at the Lion’s Den in Imperial, MO.  This camp was staffed entirely by volunteers and was made possible through the support of the Dream Factory, the American Cancer Society and the NFTY Missouri Valley youth group. In 1993, Camp Rainbow relocated to its current facility at Babler Outdoor Education Center in Wildwood, MO.

In 1990, we added Camp Rainbow Teen Camp, a weekend sleepover program for 14-18 year-old campers. This weekend includes special themes which help build leadership and communication skills, relationships and self-esteem. Teens are involved in activities such as bowling, ropes course, social action projects, games, arts & crafts and more. Camp is also held at Babler State Park.

In 1997, our hospital medical staff requested that we explore the possibility of adding a Day Camp for 4-6 year olds during the same week as Camp Rainbow overnight camp.  From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Campers participate in age-appropriate activities sharing the daily themes of Overnight Camp. A Camp Director, adult staff and counselors oversee our day camp.

In 2008, we introduced our Camp Rainbow Camp-In program, a two day camp-like experience three times a year for children on the Oncology floor and in the clinics of St. Louis Children’s, SSM Cardinal Glennon and Mercy Hospitals.

In 2013, Family Camp joined our camp family.  Heldannually at Trout Lodge in Potosi, Missouri over Labor Day Weekend, this camp provides the whole family with the opportunity to bond and share feelings, but most importantly to let loose and have fun. Families participate in a variety ofactivities which include exploring the outdoors, arts and crafts, horseback riding, archery, boating, magic shows, and much more. 

To keep up with our growth, in 2010 the Camp Rainbow Foundation hired our first full time employee and opened a Camp Rainbow office in Chesterfield.  Today, poised to celebrate our 30th summer of camps in 2017, four employees and over 350 volunteers create free and magical camping experiences for children diagnosed with cancer and blood-related disorders in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  Before the end of 2013, we expanded our programs with the addition of a family camp.

The Camp Rainbow Foundation is a charity on the move and we continue to grow. In the last five years, we have more than doubled the amount of children we had previously served. Year to datewe served over 5600 children since camp began in 1988.

Until there is a cure, Camp Rainbow will continue to provide free camping experiences to children undergoing treatment for, and survivors of, cancer and other blood-related diseases.