At times it sprinkled, at times it poured. The weather threatened to "rain on our parade" and ruin Camp Hope's fundraising efforts. However, one must take a step back in times like this to consider other measures of success—maybe measures that are more meaningful than dollars in the coffers.
On October 1, the second annual Camp Hope Festival was held at Camp Hope in Battle Ground. Tents were erected over tables and events were moved under cover, but families still plodded through puddles and dodged raindrops in their pursuit of family fun. However, when the showers stopped and the sun glimmered through the trees, the camp was a place of beauty and festival-goers grinned as they followed youngsters from one event to the next. People beckoned to the call and boarded the hayride to the pumpkin patch—rolling through the camp behind an old green tractor that putted along cheerfully.
The crew from the Evergreen Rescue Dogs faithfully directed traffic all afternoon and avoided any accidents on the road. Little kids perused the goods at the country store; they munched candy, and got their faces painted with red hearts and black eye patches. They also jumped in the bounce house and petted the friendly rescue dogs. Older kids shot paintballs and younger kids did too. In fact, one little guy reported, "A real cowboy helped me shoot a gun."
The children ignored the rain and chortled at BJ the Clown—who was drenched by the end of the show. The rain didn't stop the fun; the kids giggled and danced in the rain. Burgers, dogs, and chili warmed hands and tummies. The twinkling lights strung throughout the camp added to the charm of the evening and the music helped elevate moods.
Yes, the intermittent rain stopped some people from coming to the festival, but the ones who came left with smiles—a little soggy, but still content and happy—glad to be part of the Camp Hope community.
One of the best parts of this yearly occasion was watching 40-some youthful volunteers rise to the challenges of the day. Cupcake walk helpers tucked themselves under their umbrella and created beautiful art on each other's arms.
The archery crew dressed for the occasion and assisted small archers with grace and talent. Other workers attempted 180-degree turns on the slack line and then held little girls' hands as they delicately placed one foot in front of the other, balancing across the line.
How does one measure success?
Sometimes the day-end fundraising coffers are not as full as hoped, but hearts are fuller. Connections have been made, a sense of community has grown, and kids have discovered skills they never knew they had.
It is in those moments that we realize what is really important—and we contentedly call that success.
Thank you for being part of the Camp Hope story.