History of The 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 1990, we added Camp Rainbow Teen Camp, a weekend sleepover program for 14 to 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. Teen Camp is also held at Babler State Park in the spring.
In 1993, Camp Rainbow relocated to its current facility at Babler Outdoor Education Center in Wildwood, MO.
In 1997, our hospital medical staff requested that we explore the possibility of adding a Day Camp for 4 to 6-year-olds during the same week as Camp Rainbow Overnight Camp. That summer and every summer thereafter, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Day 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. Held annually 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 of activities which include exploring the outdoors, arts and crafts, horseback riding, archery, boating, magic shows, and much more.
New in 2017, the Camp Rainbow Teens-N-Twenty (TnT) Program provides social opportunities for our teen campers to remain connected throughout the year. Half and full day social events are held each quarter for teens ages 14 to 20 years old.
Today we have grown to an organization of 5 employees and over 350 volunteers that continue to create free and magical camping experiences for children diagnosed with cancer and blood-related disorders and their families in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.
Ronnie and Allen Brockman
Allen Brockman has been working with children with cancer and blood-related diseases since 1982. Allen started as a volunteer with the St. Louis Metro Dream Factory, an organization that fulfills dreams for seriously ill children. He served as the Chairman of the Dream Factory for 3 years. While visiting cancer patients in the hospital, he realized that there were no camps in Missouri or Southern Illinois equipped to accept children with cancer or other blood-related diseases. Deeply moved by this lack of resources, he and his wife Ronnie created Camp Rainbow in 1988.
Allen was the Chairman of the Camp Rainbow Foundation and Director of Camp Rainbow for 26 years. He also was a founding Board member and President of Friends of Kids with Cancer, an organization that provides educational, emotional, and recreational programs for children with cancer. Allen currently serves on the Board of the Children’s Oncology Camping Association International (COCA-I). COCA-I has a membership of 127 independent camps.
Ronnie Brockman is the founder of Camp Rainbow along with her husband, Allen. She served as the Program Director for Camp Rainbow Summer Camp, Volunteer Coordinator, and also supervised the other camps' Program Directors for 26 years. For 18 years Ronnie served as the Program Director, Membership Director and Director of Family Education at Congregation Shaare Emeth. She retired from Shaare Emeth in July 2012, but remains vitally active with the congregation as a volunteer.
Ronnie also served 14 years as the Director of Youth Activities for the Midwest Council Region of the Union of Reform Judaism and the NFTY Director for the Missouri Valley Federation of Temple Youth. She is nationally recognized as a Jewish youth leader and family educator. Ronnie has served on several community boards, including the Brodsky Library Commission, Jewish Fund for Human Needs, and KidSmart.
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