For 12 years of my life, each summer, I was able to spend one week with people from all over Georgia at Camp Sunshine. As the time to camp drew near, the butterflies of excitement in my stomach only grew stronger. Someone who has never set foot in camp might argue that the location of Camp Sunshine is what gives it a special place in one’s heart. A large group of cabins nestled aside two lakes and a large forest is enough to make most people smile with delight. Others might say that it is the horseback riding, ziplining, woodworking, or other unique activities that set Camp Sunshine apart from the other programs. While both the location and activities are indeed special, there is something much bigger when considering what makes Camp Sunshine the slice of heaven it is–the people.

Being able to interact with my cabin buddies helped me understand that regardless of our backgrounds or differences, we were all just people. I am grateful that Camp Sunshine gave me the opportunity to recognize the similarities between the campers but also celebrate our differences. It takes little to no effort to be understanding and kind towards others, you never know the impact it might have on an individual. Camp Sunshine promotes this culture. This paradigm has fundamentally changed me into the person I am today and developed an attitude to help me recognize that each day was a gift and I need to make the most of the chances I have been blessed with to serve others.

This is an excerpt from an essay by Kate Hansen, a recipient of a Camp Sunshine scholarship. Kate is a student at Brigham Young University in the pre-med program. Her goal is to become a pediatric oncologist. She has served on the leadership committee for the American Medical Women’s Association and is working with the Association for Future Female Physicians. She also a member of the university’s intercollegiate swim team.