Sarah Bugg ’14 interns at Paul Newman’s Roundup River Ranch
Many Centre students spend the summer months completing research and internships, often dedicating that time to helping those in need—including Sarah Bugg ’14, who spent her summer putting smiles on the faces of ailing children.
Bugg worked this summer at Roundup River Ranch in Gypsum, Colo., a camp created by Paul Newman for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
“These are kiddos who have spent much of their lives in a hospital and who are unable to attend a regular summer camp because of their medical needs. Many of the campers have had large portion of their childhoods taken from them by their diseases,” Bugg says. “When Paul Newman founded this network of camps he wanted a place where these kids could ‘raise a little hell for a week.’ Many of these kids have been told ‘no’ or ‘slow down’ for so long; we try to create an environment where we can tell them ‘yes’ as much as possible and they can just be kids and have as much fun as they can handle.”
Children who come to Roundup are generally ages seven to 17 and are from an 11 state region in the Western United States. Donations to the camp make it possible for every child who attends to come free of charge.
Bugg first heard of Roundup through Centre connections.
“The opportunity came as an email from Patrick Noltemeyer. I am a part of the Bonner Program and he sent out the application to Roundup River Ranch to all Bonners,” she says. “The director for the camp this summer is actually a Centre alum [Evan Brothers ’06] whose brother graduated with Patrick—talk about the Centre Mafia!”
Centre connections only continued to appear: when Bugg received a list of people who would be working at the camp, she was surprised to see a familiar name.
“Ironically, last spring I was studying abroad in Mérida and Travis [Carroll ’14] was studying abroad in London, so we were shocked to see each other’s name on the roster of summer staff,” says Bugg. “Neither of us expected to work with a fellow Colonel at a tiny summer camp out in Colorado.”
Day-to-day responsibilities for Bugg were constantly changing—but consistently entertaining.
“The tasks assigned to camp counselors are diverse and often bizarre,” Bugg says. “My assignments on any given day would range from stringing rubber chickens from the ceilings to belaying campers on the rock wall to encouraging a group of campers to eat spaghetti with no hands to turning the dining room into the magical land of Narnia.
“Every day looked very different,” Bugg continues. “Most involved face paint, ridiculous costumes, camp dancing and a lot imagination. All involved fun.”
Campers also took time to reflect on the camp and on their illnesses.
“A memorable moment occurred during what was called the ‘Wheel of Kindness.’ At the end of the week campers could come up and say what they were thankful for at camp and in their lives,” Bugg says. “It was such a touching time as campers thanked everyone from the chef at camp for the cinnamon rolls to the donor who gave them their liver. These campers were often so mature and truly grateful for what they had been given in life.”
Bugg hopes that her experience might inspire other fellow Colonels to help at Roundup Ranch.
“I would love to get the word out about Roundup in hopes that more Centre students could help there in the future,” she says. “It was such a great experience!”
To learn more about Roundup River Ranch, visit their website at roundupriverranch.org.