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Camp Stories

The People Behind Camp’s Heartbeat

By Katy Borum

August 4, 2018

victory junction camp stories Janice and ralph the people behind camp's heartbeat

Janice Cigich had no idea that her life would be impacted in such a big way when she heard a radio ad for Victory Junction. Janice has been volunteering at camp since 2013, and recruited her husband, Ralph Cigich, to start volunteering in 2015. Since then, they volunteer at least five times per year in the spring, summer, and fall.

Janice not only has brought her husband into the Victory Junction family, but has also gotten her work involved. Janice, a pharmacist, wrote a volunteer grant to the Omnicare division of CVS pharmacy.

victory junction camp stories Janice and ralph the people behind camp's heartbeat

Now for every 100 hours she puts into camp they will donate $1,500. In one year, Janice puts in over 200 hours – that’s over $3,000 a year that is put towards bringing a child to camp, providing them with the time of their life, and creating forever memories.

“The most impactful thing about camp is seeing a camper achieve something when they initially said they couldn’t do it.” – Janice Cigich

Going even further, Janice helped establish a sewing project at Atria Senior Living Facility, where the residents make bears for campers to take home. Janice keeps the Senior Living Facility up to date on camp, and shows them videos of the kids to make sure they know their bears are creating smiles among campers.

Before getting involved in Victory Junction, Ralph volunteered for World Vision, where he helped build over 500 homes in 20 years. Ralph also went on numerous mission trips, and participated in charity motorcycle bike rides where he gave his time and wonderful personality to others. We are so grateful Ralph shares his time volunteering and his contagious smile with us here at camp.

“The kids put a hole in your heart when they go home. It is hard to say bye to them.” – Ralph Cigich

Just when you think they couldn’t do anymore, Ralph and Janice prove you wrong. They have three golden retrievers at home, Katie, Cricket, and River, two of which they are currently training to become service dogs. Once they have completed their training, Ralph and Janice plan on taking the dogs to nursing homes and children’s hospitals as a therapy outlet for those who could benefit.

Ralph and Janice continually said we have, “The utmost respect for the full time summer staff and all they do for camp.” Every year they bring candy, cookies, or snacks for the staff to make sure they know they are appreciated.

Ralph and Janice surely make the heartbeat of Victory Junction beat stronger, and with more love whenever they are at camp. We are very fortunate to have them as part of our VJ family!