Camp Rainbow Gold is replacing its regular summer camp programming with virtual events and activities this year due to COVID-19, the organization announced this week.

The nonprofit, which serves Idaho children diagnosed with cancer, is making the temporary transition to virtual programming to protect the health of campers and to “respect the time and resources” of local health care systems and volunteers, the camp said in a statement.

“Our programs are going to look different, but Camp Rainbow Gold is not closing, canceling or changing our mission,” Executive Director Elizabeth Lizberg said. “We’re not going away, we’re getting creative.”

Along with offering week-long summer camps, Camp Rainbow Gold hosts events for the families of children diagnosed with cancer, runs a teen support group for cancer survivors and offers a college scholarship program. The teen support group has been moved online, the organization said, and the camp is hosting online activities such as virtual campfires and game nights.

The camp’s virtual summer program will be held July 12-24 and is open to any child who has cancer. Children or families who have previously been unable to attend the in-person camp are encouraged to register and get involved in the organization’s new offerings, the camp said in the statement.

“This year is an opportunity to reach even more vulnerable children and families across the state who have been unable to attend in-person events due to cancer treatments,” Lizberg said.

The transition to virtual events isn’t intended to be permanent, she said, but noted that some virtual programs “may remain in place in the future to reach even more fragile children every year.”

The organization’s largest fundraising event, the Share Your Heart Ball, was canceled last month due to the spread of coronavirus into Idaho. The result was a “devastating loss of funding” for the nonprofit this year, Camp Rainbow Gold said in the statement. Donations will now provide summer program resources and technology, support adjusted activities and help fund this year’s scholarship program, the organization said.

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