KETCHUM, Idaho – Some residents of the small Idaho community of Triumph near the resort town of Ketchum say they don't want a camp for kids with cancer in their neighborhood, prompting the group planning to build it to reconsider its plans.
Camp Rainbow Gold has previously held its summer camps at a privately owned campsite in the Sawtooth Mountains and organizers announced last month they were working to buy property in Triumph that would serve as a permanent camp location.
But the Idaho Mountain Express reported that residents strongly opposed the plan during a community meeting last week, citing concerns about increased traffic and water and sewage use.
"You guys are throwing Triumph under the bus," resident Bill Collins said.
More children with cancer could attend a permanently based camp, Camp Rainbow Gold Executive Director Elizabeth Lizberg said, so the group had planned to apply for a conditional-use permit for the location that is zoned for rural and residential use.
But after the surprise negative reaction at the community meeting, Lizberg said that the camp's board members would meet again to discuss whether to move forward with the zoning permit application.
"After years of generous support in the Wood River Valley, we are disappointed at how this project is being perceived." Lizberg said. "Comments were made that are hurtful to the children and families we serve and the mission we fulfill."
The $3.75 million property includes a donation of land worth about $1.75 million, with the donation contingent on the successful purchase of the entire property. The site covers about a half of a square mile, but the camp itself would sit on about 40 acres. Lizberg said the scenic location is ideal, with natural ponds and a hospital about 10 miles away.
The camp's main activities would occur between May and October, Lizberg said.
Camp Rainbow Gold became one of the nation's first pediatric oncology camps when it was founded in 1985 by Dave McClusky, a Twin Falls surgeon who was inspired by an 8-year-old cancer patient who wanted to be "normal" and go to camp.