High Altitude Society: Roundup River Ranch celebrates 10-year founders’ anniversary | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: Roundup River Ranch celebrates 10-year founders’ anniversary

On a beautiful summer’s evening along the Colorado River, a special group of caring individuals helped make dreams come true for Roundup River Ranch, which carries out the mission of enriching the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families by offering free, medically supported camp programs.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, A Grateful Harvest raised $1.2 million to support more than 500 children with serious illnesses and provide opportunities to enjoy the simple yet exuberant joys of childhood. Roundup River Ranch provides campers opportunities to discover hope, friendship and confidence at camp.

Celebrate the Magic of Camp was the theme for A Grateful Harvest, and guests enjoyed a five-star, five-course dinner paired with exquisite wine, live entertainment and priceless performances by Roundup River Ranch campers. Unique this year was a celebration of Roundup River Ranch’s 10th anniversary (and nearly 4,000 happy campers), as well as acknowledging camp founder Alison Knapp and the founding Board of Directors that brought actor and philanthropist Paul Newman’s vision to life in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Abundance of Gratitude

It was a special opportunity to celebrate 10 years of the healing power of camp. Event chairperson Liz Logan welcomed the group under a grand white tent with comments of appreciation and gratitude.

“It was just 10 years ago that this vision and dream was just an idea,” she said. “A group of people came together and decided that we needed a camp to call home in Colorado. … I have to give credit to (CEO) Ruth Johnson and her team. … They do everything so well and with such dedication.”

Logan also acknowledged Katie Santambrogio and Shawn Kirschner for their hard work and thanked presenting sponsor WhiteWave Foods Co. and the many other sponsors, event contributors and ambassadors who helped make the evening such an immense success.

Special thanks went out to the celebrity chefs who prepared the Grateful Harvest dishes, including Jessica Anderson, of Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek; Paul Ferzacca, of La Tour Restaurant in Vail; Kelly Liken and Jarrod Morrah, of Harvest in Edwards; Riley Romanin, of Hooked in Beaver Creek; Marcus Stewart, of Flame in Vail; and wine pairings expertly provided by Master Sommelier Sean Razee.

Johnson thanked her staff and team of volunteers.

“I would be remiss not to recognize and thank Dr. Lia Gore, another founding member, for her continual grace and for putting our mission and the campers above all else. She is a role model for all of us,” Johnson said.

Paul Newman’s daughter Clea Newman Soderlund thanked the group for continuing the work her father started.

“Every time that I go to one of our camps, there is the same beautiful energy. There is something about being involved with one of these camps that just feels right. … It heals your soul,” she said.

When her father first suggested that she get involved, Newman Soderlund was nervous, but soon learned what a gift it was to be at camp.

“The community, the love, the affection that we all give to the kids … the kids give right back to you. And you leave with that energy. It surrounds you,” Newman Soderlund said, and then reflected back on when her father first shared his dream of building these camps.

“When my dad came up with the idea of running these camps, everyone said to him, ‘What does a movie star know about starting a camp for seriously ill kids?’ And he said, ‘You know what, I don’t know, but whatever I don’t know, I am going to find people to show me and create the best place possible,’ to which there was great applause.

“His story is your story. … You are all continuing his legacy. It means so much to the kids, to the families, to the doctors … so, thank you so much. It is such an honor.”

For more information on the camp’s mission and vision and about donating and volunteering, visit http://www.roundupriver ranch.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local that covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.

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