July 7, 2020
Dear Camp Sunshine Community,
After 37 years of serving children with cancer, Camp Sunshine just completed our first virtual summer camp, Sunshine 2.0. As we met online with our campers and volunteers, we were reminded that childhood cancer does not discriminate. It affects children of all races, economic status, cultures, religions, genders, orientations, and abilities. The families we serve come from diverse backgrounds and from all regions of our state.
Right now, our world faces many challenges and our community is hurting. In recent weeks, we have been confronted with terrible scenes of racial injustice with roots both deep and wide. As a community of hope, we will listen, learn, and stand firmly against racism. We will honor a deep commitment to be an inclusive and welcoming community for all families.
Every day we embrace the lessons learned from camp experiences and our campers, and we pledge to uphold Camp Sunshine’s values of trust, accountability, inclusivity, and respect. Here are three important and relevant life lessons from the summer camp experience:
- You meet people and share experiences that lead to a better understanding of others who do not share your background. As a result, you are inspired to care about the struggles of others, whether or not you have experienced similar challenges yourself. One camper shared a sentiment that particularly resonated with me: “Because of camp, I have learned to love others for who they are as a person, which has made me stronger and more confident within myself.”
- You forge meaningful connections and use your voice to speak with love, care, and compassion for each other. You ask, “How can I help?” And you mean it – and you do it.
- You learn that to overcome challenges, you must be pushed beyond your comfort zone. You learn and do new things.
At Camp Sunshine, we will use not only our words but also our actions, rooted in love, to be part of the change. We are not where we want to be, and we are committed to working together to create a safer, more welcoming, and equitable environment and culture for all our campers, families, volunteers, board, and staff. We promise to be accountable to our Camp Sunshine family and our community, and we appreciate your support as we share this journey together.
With hope and determination,
Sally Hale W. Ben Barkley
Executive Director, Camp Sunshine Chair, Board of Director