Camp One Step

Camp One Step
Photo Credit: Camp One Step

I have never posted anything, anywhere. But, sometimes in life, if you are lucky, you experience something so special that you want to share it with others. That is why I wanted to take this opportunity to share my visit to Camp One Step.

Camp One Step was introduced to me by my friend Bill Strotman.  I was familiar with the organization, since the Summerfest Foundation supported Camp One Step through the Big Gig Dress Rehearsal, an event which selects charitable partners each year to raise awareness and financial support.  Bill asked me to visit the Camp in Lake Geneva and I will be forever grateful for that invitation.

Camp One Step provides supportive, educational and fun experiences for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Camp One Step by Children's Oncology Services serves children in different stages of treatment who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, and throughout the Midwest. Over the last 39 years, Camp One Step has served more than 15,000 campers through their eleven different programs.

On the tour, I met the camp’s leaders, doctors, and nurses. More importantly, I met the campers. These kids – through their courage, their attitudes on life, and their concern for fellow campers - were a true inspiration to me.  As one Camp One Step camper stated, "A kid with cancer is still a kid and kids deserve to have fun." It completely opened my eyes and touched my heart.

On the ride home, and for weeks, even months, afterward (and still as I write this), I think about the trivial issues that are often on my mind. NO MORE . . . thanks to the campers at Camp One Step.  Now I prefer to open my aperture a bit and look at things with a wider view.  I am so thankful for all the children at Camp One Step. I have so much admiration for their strength, sense of humor, intestinal fortitude, and love. Thank you campers!

So, during this winter season, when we consider the things for which we are thankful and the people for whom we are thankful, I hope that you also look at your life with a wider view and take the time to appreciate your experiences, your friends, and your family.


Don Smiley
President / CEO Summerfest