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Camp Rainbow Connection

Camp Dates are July 16-22, 2022 (campers arrive July 17)

What is Camp?

Camp Rainbow Connection is a week-long respite camp for individuals with intellectual disabilities. CRC started in 1985 at Westview on the James, a camp of the Charlottesville, Rappahannock River, and Richmond Districts of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. That first year, there were 25 campers and a small staff of 15 volunteers. CRC grew to two weeks while at the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. CRC is currently held at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, VA and is resourced by the Serving Ministries Office.

The staff and volunteers of Camp Rainbow are dedicated to providing a wonderful and enriching summer program for each camper, along with a week of respite for families and care givers. Campers participate in a variety of activities including Bible class, music, science, arts and crafts, games, dancing and special activities. Our mission is one of healing and acceptance towards all God’s people. Because we are a ministry of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), participation of people of all backgrounds, ability levels, heritages, and faiths is encouraged.

How can I support Camp?

We are a self-funded ministry of the VA Conference. Your financial support allows us to purchase much needed supplies, provide scholarships for campers and continue to operate.

You can mail a check made payable to “VAUMC” with “Camp Rainbow” in the memo line to:

Camp Rainbow Connection
PO Box 5606
Glen Allen, VA 23058

Staff Information

To request a staff application, e-mail [email protected].

**Our applications are now online**

What does a volunteer staff do?:

Camp Rainbow Connection is a continuation of Christ’s ministry where campers and staff of all races and religions experience Christian love.Volunteers with Camp Rainbow Connection will: (1) demonstrate Christian love with compassion and acceptance toward campers, family members/care givers, and fellow volunteer staff; (2) provide opportunities for campers to experience fun, fellowship, and Christian teachings; and (3) work together as a team with persons with and without disabilities.

As a Camper Buddy and Activity Mentor, a volunteer will:

  1. Maintain the dignity of the campers with whom he/she is matched as a staff buddy (including the individual’s in-room privacy and property), the other campers participating in sessions, and fellow staff volunteers. Hold information confidential.
  2. Abide by the child/youth/vulnerable adult protection policies of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
  3. Focus upon the needs of the campers as the highest priority during camp sessions.
  4. Be aware of where the camper under your supervision as a Buddy is and what they are doing at all times.  You are expected to inform the camper of your whereabouts as well. As a Camper Buddy, you will be sharing a sleeping room with the camper(s) and possibly additional volunteers, assuring that medication/health needs are met, and assisting with activities of daily living as appropriate.
  5. Provide opportunities for participation by campers in all activities. As an Activity Mentor, you will be assisting with tasks in morning classes, afternoon activities, and evening sessions. You are expected to promote independence of the camper in all that is done, allowing the person to try tasks on his/her own, make mistakes, take longer than others, and persevere. You will always be called upon to assist with proper supervision of campers.  During class activities, you will work in your class or activity and your camper will be supervised by those leading the activities in which he/she is involved. 
  6. Be a full participant in all activities.  Attendance is required at all sessions and events.
  7. Maintain Christian integrity and behavior at all times.
  8. Share any concerns or questions you have with the Camp Coordinator and On-Site Directors.
  9. Assist with solicitation of supply donations and financial contributions to help keep the cost of camp for the campers at as low a level as possible.

Qualifications and Time Required:

A staff volunteer must:

  1. Be willing to serve God and minister to others.
  2. Be 16 years of age by March 15 of the camp year.
  3. Attend one orientation session before serving at camp.
  4. Be committed to attending his/her chosen camp unless there is an emergency.
  5. Arrival at site on Saturday prior to start of camp to prepare for the arrival of campers.
  6. Commit to the full week of camp in June and/or July (Saturday – Friday).

Camper Information

To request a camper application, e-mail [email protected].

**Our applications are now online**

Criteria for Admission

Camp Rainbow Connection is a wonderful expression of God’s love. However, it is NOT for everyone due to its structure and location. Campers spend the week with others of various ability levels. Each camper is paired with a staff “buddy.” Staff members give of their time as volunteers. For this reason, camp is not appropriate for individuals who do not meet the following criteria.

The potential camper must:

  • Have a mild to moderate level of intellectual disability although other disabilities may exist.
  • Be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • Perform activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, bathing, and toileting that require little assistance. Note: An individual will not be admitted to camp if he/she cannot control bowel or urine elimination.
  • Participate in all camp activities as appropriate.
  • Demonstrate no physical and/or emotional threat to self or others and require little care in terms of his/her behavior.
  • Document from a physician that no recent hospitalizations have occurred.

Registration Requirements

All application forms are due by April 1. We cannot allow any exceptions.

Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. The cost of the camp is determined each year.  For 2022, the cost is $550. Limited financial assistance is available upon request.

An application fee of $50 is required of all applicants.

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