While some students will be nursing hangovers this Sunday, others will be walking to raise money to benefit children with cancer.
Associated Students Community Affairs Board is hosting the first annual UCSB “Walk for Good Times” this Sunday from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Registration is $10 per person and all proceeds will go to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children suffering from cancer and their families. Everyone is welcome to participate in the walk and over 200 students, staff, faculty and community members have already signed up to participate.
“It’s just a great event. You get to be outdoors and meet other people in the community and reach out and help kids that are less fortunate than we are,” CAB member Emily Dubin said.
The event will start with on-site registration at 10 a.m. and the walk will kick off with an aerobic warm-up at 10:45, followed by an 11 a.m. start. The 35-minute trek will take participants from the rear lawn of the UCen, around the Campus Lagoon and back to the starting point. Participants will receive snacks, drinks, a T-shirt and a raffle ticket for the drawing that will be held after the walk. Naked Voices will also be performing.
CAB hopes to raise $3,000, all of which will go toward sending children with cancer and their families to Camp Ronald McDonald throughout the year. Camp Ronald McDonald and CAB will have booths on the UCen lawn to give information, recruit volunteers and camp counselors and take donations. The event, which was proposed to CAB by Dubin, took several months to plan.
“CAB does a lot of working with the community and a lot of us are Ronald McDonald camp counselors, so this was another way to give back,” Dubin said.
Camp Ronald McDonald helps kids with cancer enjoy being kids and learn to live a normal life. Many children with cancer are pulled out of school for a year or more for treatment and suffer social setbacks because of it. Camp Ronald McDonald puts them in a setting with other kids their age who are going through the same thing and helps them regain their social skills, their confidence and their independence.
“They learn to socialize and learn decision-making and positive self esteem. We want them to be independent and look forward to the future,” Assistant Camp Director Lisa “Hollywood” Konruff said. “A lot of kids get stuck in the present and don’t look further than their next treatment. We teach them lifelong lessons within the camp activities so it’s fun and helpful.”
Camp Ronald McDonald provides everything kids being treated for cancer would need including special off-road wheelchairs for hikes, a pharmacy and a full emergency room staffed with volunteer doctors and nurses. The camp aims to give each child as normal a camp experience as possible.
“It’s a very normal experience and it’s a way for kids who otherwise couldn’t go to camp to be able to,” Konruff said.
Camp Ronald McDonald hosts kids from all social and economic backgrounds and is run entirely off donations, fundraisers and grants that pay for the $750 per camper cost of attendance – covering camp equipment, the salaries of the 13-member full-time staff, and often the cost of camping supplies for individual children that may be unable to afford them.
“We don’t want to have to turn someone away because they can’t afford the warm clothing or sleeping bag they need; we don’t work that way. We believe every child has the right to go to camp,” Konruff said. “The money that comes in supplies everything. We wouldn’t be able to have camp without donations.”
Aside from funding, the biggest obstacle for Camp Ronald McDonald is finding volunteer counselors, especially men, Konruff said. It is a struggle every year to find enough male counselors.
“It’s so important to the kids that people come to camp and volunteer, especially men. So many children are growing up without a positive male influence in their lives, and the male volunteers can have such a powerful impact on the kids,” Konruff said. “If somebody is out there looking for a unique experience and a way to help out, this is the program for them.”