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Better Together

Working with community partners to improve health.

St. Luke’s helps Camp Rainbow Gold realize goal of custom space for campers

Among the popular activities at Camp Rainbow Gold's teen camp is archery, up against a majestic setting.
July 18, 2022

For nearly 40 years, Idaho nonprofit organization Camp Rainbow Gold has provided special experiences to families who have experienced a pediatric cancer diagnosis through oncology summer camps, sibling camps, family retreats, college scholarships and a teen support group.

Camp Rainbow Gold just wrapped up the second summer of camps at its new property in Fairfield — Hidden Paradise — Idaho’s first purposefully built, medically-focused, accessible and adaptable camp space. St. Luke’s donated to support the new camp.

“We are able to host our camps and welcome other nonprofits because of incredible generosity and collaboration,” said Elizabeth Lizberg, Camp Rainbow Gold CEO/executive director. “We live in a great community that wholeheartedly agrees with the need for Idaho to have a medical camp.”

Prior to moving into the new location, Camp Rainbow Gold held most camp activities near Ketchum.

St. Luke’s impact on Camp Rainbow Gold programs and on the development of Hidden Paradise has been “immeasurable,” Camp Rainbow Gold officials said — not only providing financial support but through employees giving their time to volunteer.

Erin Pfaeffle, a leader in St. Luke’s Community Health and Engagement efforts, is a longtime supporter of Camp Rainbow Gold.

St. Luke's nurses often staff the "med shack" at Camp Rainbow Gold.

“St. Luke’s is honored to support Camp Rainbow Gold,” Pfaeffle said. “Having lived in the Wood River area where the camp previously took place for a number of years, I got to see firsthand the impact Camp Rainbow Gold makes on Idaho kids. We are thrilled to see this new camp come to life, and we’re excited it’s positioned to serve even more children and families in the years to come.”

Nurses attend each camp to keep the kids safe and doctors provide medical guidance at camp and throughout the year. And so many other staff and administrators are champions of the camp programs to patients and families who come through the doors of St. Luke’s each year.

In June, more than 90 campers headed to Hidden Paradise for youth oncology camp, teen oncology camp and sibling camp. These camps give kids a chance to just be kids — to run, laugh, make new friends, try new adventures. They participate in mountain biking, horseback riding, archery, ropes challenges, water fights, talent shows, art projects and much more.

Throughout the summer, Hidden Paradise is opening its doors to Sunrise Retreats, an organization for widows, Camp River Run, serving children battling life-threatening or disabling medical conditions, and Camp Kesem, supporting children who have a parent with a cancer diagnosis or have lost a parent to cancer. 

“This summer is also the kickoff to welcoming others to Hidden Paradise and we are grateful to everyone that has worked hard to help make Idaho’s first medical camp become a reality,” Lizberg said.

Hidden Paradise’s development is ongoing and moving quickly ahead. In September, officials expect to break ground on the first of 12 new, donated cabins. Camp Rainbow Gold is working to raise funds for the infrastructure to support the cabins and a brand new, on-site health center that has also been donated. In the future, camp plans include a new dining hall, art shack, equestrian center and more.

The goal at Hidden Paradise is simple: to build a lasting, accessible-to-all summer camp that will serve Idaho’s children, veterans and families for generations to come.