Roundup River Ranch 2018: Katie’s Story

Roundup River Ranch

Medical Solutions Traveler, Katie, shares her Roundup River Ranch camp story this month!

In 2018, Medical Solutions partnered once again with Roundup River Ranch, a Serious Fun camp in Gypsum, Colorado, that offers a free camp experience to children with serious illnesses. Part of our contribution to Roundup River Ranch includes helping recruit talented healthcare professionals to support campers’ medical needs. That’s also good news and a great opportunity for Medical Solutions Travelers who’ve always wanted to do good and go back to camp!

This summer we helped recruit three amazing Travel Nurses to spend the summer at Roundup River Ranch, and over the next few months, we’ll share their camp stories with you. First up, here is Katie’s story.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from?

My name is Katie! I’m originally from New York and currently live in Arizona. I have been working in the Emergency Department for the last five-and-a-half years and have been traveling for the last two years with my adorable dog, Acey!

What inspired you to work at Roundup River Ranch this summer?

My entire nursing career has been in the Emergency Department. I see people on one of the worst days of their lives. Sometimes we get to medical issues in the ER, but many times we just stabilize our patients and don’t get to see them cured and healthy. When I saw the opportunity to work at Roundup River Ranch it was the only thing I could think of for days. The idea of working with kids with serious illnesses, but outside of the hospital, and seeing them on one of the BEST days of their lives sounded like exactly what I needed in my life! I read all about Roundup River Ranch — their mission, vision, and guideposts, and along with seeing pictures and YouTube videos from camp, it literally brought me to tears! Applying to work here was definitely the easiest decision I’ve ever made!

How has your camp experience at Roundup River Ranch changed your personal and professional outlook? Would you say you’ve become a better nurse? 

Working at Roundup River Ranch has not only made me a better nurse but also a better person! Camp has changed my life in so many ways; it has made me a happier person and so grateful for what I’ve been blessed with. These campers are truly my heroes. They face so many obstacles in their daily life, but never let it get them down. At camp there are no obstacles for them — at Roundup there is NOTHING they can’t do!

At camp we have 10 guideposts that remind the campers and staff what Roundup is all about, and my favorite two that will always stay with me are “embrace joy” and “give 110%.” When I leave camp, I want to always remember and live by those two guideposts for the rest of my life! I want to find the joy in every situation and everywhere I go and I want to always give my all, and then some — both at work and personally!

What types of memories from this camp will you take back to your life as an RN? Which ones stand out as the most rewarding and why?

I have learned so much as a nurse working at Roundup! Some of our campers require special treatments while at camp, many of which were new to me. I had wonderful professors in school, but I have to say my favorite teachers were those campers! They weren’t concerned that I’ve never done their specific procedure before. They taught me what to do and by the end of the week I was a professional — just like them!

I have so many amazing memories from camp! Watching our campers who are paralyzed and in wheelchairs climb the rock wall with only their upper arm strength, seeing campers who are shy and reserved come out of their shell at stage night (AKA, the talent show), camp dancing, campers riding a horse for the first time, catching a fish, no hands spaghetti, bedtime cabin chats … the list goes on and on.

One memory that will remain with me long after camp is over, would be the goodbyes, which are never fun. Having these kids come running up to give you a hug goodbye and telling you how much they are going to miss you, after only knowing you for a week, was so special. The bond we created and the trust we built with our campers in such a short period of time was truly remarkable, and definitely unlike anything I get to experience while working in the ER!

What would you tell other nurses about this camp and would you recommend going back?

GO! If you ever get the opportunity to go, GO! It will be the best decision of your life! I’ve never worked at a summer camp before; didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, but I had the absolute best time I could imagine! You need to see just how life-changing this place is — for the campers and for you!

What will you miss the most when camp is over?

I’ll miss the friendships! Living in close quarters with about 60 other nurses, program leaders, cabin leaders, and volunteers for three months straight, we all became a family real fast! We all worked together to create the best week possible for every camper!

I’ll miss the smiles. Every day you’d be hard pressed to find someone not smiling and not having an amazing day.

I’ll miss the costume closet. Having lunch with a camper dressed like a princess to your right, and someone else dressed as a hotdog to your left was just normal meal time for us!

I’ll miss the scenery. It’s picture perfect up here! The mountains look like a backdrop, and the stars really are so much closer and brighter here!

Mostly I’ll miss the campers, the pure joy on their faces every day, the carefree attitude, and their strength! They are truly what makes the magic of this camp come alive!

Roundup River Ranch

Everybody loves camp!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Sarah Wengert, a creative content writer for the amazing Medical Solutions based in Omaha, Nebraska. While I'm not a Travel Nurse, I love to travel and I truly appreciate the hard, important work that nurses do. I'm very happy to represent a company that cares so much about its people. Thanks for reading!

Comments (2)

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  1. Rachel Hester


    It is so exciting to hear about camp this summer and Katie’s wonderful experience. She is correct that camp changes you as a person and as a nurse! We become more understanding to what our decisions and teaching of our patients does to affect the entire patient! Mind, Body, and Soul! Camp helps us to see the big picture and to see what our patients are truly capable of doing. We learn to say yes! We learn to have fun! We learn that our patients are loving, growing, children that just want to be kid! Roundup River Ranch is an amazing and healing place for everyone that steps foot on the property! If you get a chance to ever apply to spend an amazing summer at camp with these amazing kids do it!

  2. Lia Gore


    Katie, thank you for personifying camp. you will forever be part of Roundup and Roundup, forever part of you — we are grateful for all you give !!

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