When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the days of playing ball and going swimming are often replaced with clinic visits and hospital admissions. Yet at Camp Sunshine's Summer Camp, a camper can receive chemotherapy in the morning and be horseback riding by the afternoon.
Each year over three hundred seventy-five campers attend a week at Camp Sunshine's summer camp. Here children with cancer are able to experience summer camp just like other kids. Two one-week sessions are held; a session for children ages 7 - 12, and a session for teens 13 - 18. Each week is packed full of fun, excitement, and age appropriate activities.
After attending Camp Sunshine, campers bring home more than just dirty laundry. They bring home unforgettable memories and long lasting friendships. They bring home tales of tasks accomplished that before were thought of as unattainable. They come home feeling more confident in themselves and more secure with their illness. It is amazing how one week at Camp Sunshine can truly make a difference in their lives.
Teen Week, for teens ages 13-18, will be Sunday, June 18 - Friday, June 23.
Junior Week, for kids ages 7-12, will be Sunday, June 25 - Friday June 30.
Summer Camp is available to campers ages 7 - 18. The application process opens early in the year, normally in January. Applications for campers are accepted on a first come, first served basis with precedent given to new campers or those currently on therapy. Online registration is available once the process is open and the due date is usually in May. If you have questions about Summer Camp, please contact our Camp Director Deanna Warren at 404-325-7979.
Camp Sunshine is takes place at Camp Twin Lakes-Rutledge, located approximately fifty miles east of Atlanta. Camp Twin Lakes opened its doors to special needs children in 1993, and provides a totally accessible facility - a modern camp with air-conditioned cabins, nestled in the country. One can find many of the same activities found at traditional summer camps like swimming, archery, horseback riding, tennis, pottery, and of course, fishing. The campers publish a daily newspaper and challenge each other in the latest computer games. Special adventure activities are available including a ropes course, zipline, climbing wall, giant swing and a pamper pole! Evening activities are varied each day and may be a talent show, carnival, dance, pool party or another fun program!
Over two hundred dedicated volunteers attend camp every summer in order to make each camper's experience memorable. With a ration of one counselor to every two campers, there is never lack of supervision. Camp Sunshine also provides an experienced medical staff consisting of doctors and nurses who specialize in the care of children with cancer. The 24-hour on-site medical facility is equipped to provide any specialized treatment or necessary medical attention.
Quite often first time campers ask, "Can someone come with me?" As a parent, you might hear "If I don't like it, do I have to stay?" It is very common for children to have some anxiety when leaving home for an extended period of time; for many, this will be the first time away from home since diagnosis. Upon arrival, the newness of the camp environment, making new friends, and the natural longing for the "old and familiar" make moments of homesickness happen for many. Experience has taught us the symptoms of homesickness may occur over the first few days of camp - often during rest period and/or lights out. Most often with a few conversations with counselors and with the security of new friends and activities, the homesickness dissipates.
Here are some tips to help prepare your child for camp and the possibility of homesickness:
Prior To Camp ...
During Camp ...
Please note that campers are not permitted to call home unless there is an emergency. If you feel the need to call and check on your child, you may leave a message on Camp Sunshine's voice mailbox at Camp Twin Lakes. A Unit Head or staff member will call you back as soon as possible. Direct phone calls to campers are discouraged as they may trigger homesickness or interfere with camper adjustment.
|7:00 am||Polar Bear Swimming/Fishing (optional!)|
|7:30 am||Rise and Shine|
|8:00 - 8:45 am||Flag Raising / Breakfast|
|9:00 - 10:00 am||First Activity Period (maybe horseback riding!)|
|10:10 - 11:10 am||Second Activity Period (archery? tennis? arts & crafts?)|
|11:10 - 11:20 am||Snack at the Canteen|
|11:20 - 12:20 pm||Third Activity Period (I think I'll try computers!)|
|12:30 pm||Lunch and Singing|
|1:30 - 2:30 pm||Rest Period|
|2:30 - 3:30 pm||Fourth Activity Period|
|3:30 - 3:45 pm||Snack at the canteen|
|4:00 - 5:00 pm||Fifth Activity Period (Definitely pool!)|
|5:00 - 6:00 pm||Cabin Time|
|6:00 - 7:00 pm||Flag Lowering and Dinner|
|7:00 - 9:00 pm||Evening Program (Is it the talent show or carnival?!)|
|9:30 pm||Everyone in Cabins|
|10:00 pm||Lights out!|