Duncan Dobie has been a volunteer with Camp Sunshine since the organization began in 1983. His daughter, Catherine, was a camper and his wife Kappi also volunteers. We hope you enjoy his reflections over the past 30 years!
If I could relive the past 30 years, I’d probably do a lot of things differently in my life, but I would never change one thing about my days spent as a volunteer at Camp Sunshine. Best I can figure, I’ve spent over 80 weeks of my life at various camp functions over the past three decades.
I thank my lucky stars for Camp Sunshine. Being associated with camp changed my life and in many ways helped mould me into the person I am today. Camp has long been a way of life for me and my family. Kappi and I learned early on that going to camp was not about us. It was about doing everything within our power as part of a team of special volunteers to make sure the children in attendance were having the best week of their lives. Whenever that happens, and we’ve watched it happen every summer for the past 30 years, we’ve been rewarded beyond our wildest expectations!
Certainly we attend camp for the children, but the devotion, talent and generosity that our one-of-a-kind, volunteer staff brings to the table every year never ceases to amaze and inspire me as well. It is always a powerful influence and great source of energy for me. When I’m inspired, I know I can accomplish anything, and Camp Sunshine certainly gives me that kind of inspiration. At camp, anything is possible!
Two summers ago, an eight-year-old girl with only one arm signed up to climb the rock wall. As the time drew near for her rendezvous with the wall, she approached her counselor apprehensively and said, “I forgot that I only had one arm when I signed up.” That afternoon, she went up to the top of that wall like there was no tomorrow! Everyone in camp knew about her achievement and applauded it.
The well-known philosopher and teacher Joseph Campbell once said that when we do things outside of the box – outside the humdrum business of spending most of our time meeting the demands of life – what we are really seeking is the feeling of being truly alive. Some people like to parachute out of airplanes or go bungee jumping to seek their thrills. For me, Camp Sunshine is the ultimate real-life experience. To witness a child hit the bull’s eye on the archery range and later joyfully tell all of his or her friends about it is magical. To see the elation in as child’s face when he or she has earned a green wrist band indicating they can swim in deep water is indescribable. I am never more alive than during those special days in the sun at Camp Sunshine. I’m sure this feeling is universal at every oncology camp across the world. Like all of the amazing children’s cancer camps across North America, Camp Sunshine is the real deal!
Thirty years has gone by in the blink of an eye. I wish it had been a lot more.