One of my favorite quotes, and one I share each summer at our camp “graduation” ceremony is, “[Camp] Friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but you know they are there.” A veteran volunteer gave me a framed version of this quote and it is in my office. I have looked at that quote often over the past year and have been reminded how closely I hold on to that belief.
Our campers and parents have told us how much being together means to them:
- “Camp Sunshine was a light in the darkness of cancer that allowed me to see I was not alone in my fight against cancer.”
- “They treated me like a kid, not a kid with cancer.”
- “Camp Sunshine has literally been our sunshine! It’s been the silver lining of cancer.”
- “I remember my first year at camp changed me from the sick little girl who was grumpy to the positive survivor I am today.”
- “Before he left for camp he was struggling emotionally and returned a newer, stronger version of himself.”
Like many in our Camp Sunshine community, I long for the day when we have families around our tables at Camp Sunshine House, campers fishing from the dock at Camp Twin Lakes, and children with IV poles making slime in the hospital playroom! Until then, I am uplifted when I see families dancing, roasting marshmallows, and playing Bingo with us on Zoom! I am reassured when our volunteers log on to help with Mystery Night or just to have a counselor chat with us! I am inspired by the creative energy of our staff as they navigated the past year and found new ways to reach out and connect with our campers and families, providing a community of hope and support in a time of such uncertainty and isolation. And I am immensely grateful for our faithful donors who have generously supported us, allowing us to continue this important work.
So, I have no doubt that my Camp Sunshine friends are still there, giving us strength and hope for this new year. And I surely feel your presence even if I do not see you.
Take care and wishing all of you the best in this new year! Sally