Inspired by AJ, our Shining Child of the Month in May, Momee Friends hosted a Christmas in July event & Toy Drive for the Sunrise Day Camp – a cost-free, non-sectarian, full day summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. This week, I had the privilege of delivering the donations to the camp, and to see first-hand who they would be benefiting.
Founded in 2006 by Arnie Preminger, Sunrise Day Camp is nestled on the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, and serves over 1,100 campers. Mr. Preminger planted a seed of an idea to create a place where children who were chronically ill and whose childhood were interrupted by hospital stays, chemo and radiation treatments, could escape and simply experience the magic that childhood really brings.
Since 2006, the organization that operates under the umbrella of the Sunrise Association has expanded their services to include 3 Summer Camps, an international program, and an in-patient program called Sunrise on Wheels, which brings the Summer Camp experience to children who are not well enough to attend the Day Camps.
Upon entering the campgrounds, I was greeted by Development Associate, Jessica Kamens, who gave me a tour of the Pavilion and the grounds.
Every inch of the camp has been carefully constructed to be mindful of any of the special needs that campers may have. Special clubhouses and cabins which are all funded by donors are set up to facilitate various camp programs.
Several benefactors had children who attended the camp and have sadly passed on. There are activity centers like Cassandra’s Course, and a giant toy train set and tracks which serve as memorials for 2 special campers. Their families wanted to provide campers with something that brought joy to their children’s lives.
Sunrise Day Camp is truly a special place where kids can forget about the rigors of their chronic illnesses and treatments, and just be kids. They even have a club that resembles a school for little ones who have never experienced going to a traditional school due to their prolonged stays at hospitals. Sunrise offers them the opportunity to be a part of a classroom filled with other happy classmates. Murals decorated with all of the names of all the campers who have attended the club adorn the walls of one of the halls.
We had an amazing day visiting with Jessica and the other staff that run the camp throughout the day. We thank you for having Momee Friends visit and share the story of such an amazing camp for the children of our community.
We would like to recognize Sunrise Day Camp as a Momee Friends Bright Pick!
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