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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Health, Health Care, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Founded in 1984, Camp Sunshine provides retreats combining respite, recreation and support, while enabling hope and promoting joy, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through the various stages of a child’s illness. Camp Sunshine is the only program in the nation offered year-round with the distinction of having been designed to serve the entire family in a retreat model. The program is free of charge to families and includes on-site medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement sessions are also offered for families who have experienced the death of a child from a supported illness.

Results: Over the past 32 years, Camp Sunshine has served more than 48,900 family members from 50 states and 27 countries.

Target demographics: Just as an illness does not target a specific demographic, Camp Sunshine's programs and support is available to all families, regardless of economic or cultural backgrounds.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 750-800 families, or 3,000 - 3,200 family members.

Geographic areas served: National / International.

Programs: Families of children diagnosed with cancer, hematologic conditions, renal disease, systemic lupus, those who have undergone solid organ transplantation, and families of children with other life-threatening illnesses attend illness-specific sessions of varying lengths. Families have the opportunity to solidify their relationships and meet others facing similar challenges. Bereavement programming is also provided for families who have lost a child to the illnesses served at Camp.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Terry51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my daughter and I decided to volunteer at Camp Sunshine the first time, we knew it was going to be an amazing experience. NEVER in our wildest dreams did we think it would be as incredible as it is. Camp Sunshine is in our hearts forever and has become one of the best parts of our lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What keeps me coming back to Camp Sunshine year after year? Could it be the small, yet wonderful, caring staff who treat everyone so warmly? Is it the families who entrust their most valuable possessions (their children) to me during the sessions, and stay in touch with me throughout the years? Is it the medical professionals who are on call 24-7? Is it the clean facilities? The various activities? The army of volunteers of all ages and from all over the country? The wonderful 3 meals a day? The evening entertainment? The wish boats? Or is it, that Camp Sunshine is the place where kids can be kids, and no one is "different"? It is all of these things, and so much more, and I am so fortunate to be a part of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last summer I had the privilege of volunteering for one week at a Camp Sunshine brain tumor session. The camp is a delightful, happy, modern, clean and well-run facility. Staff and volunteers do everything they can to make the families attending feel relaxed, special and like they are on vacation. The families have time to bond as a family and they have separate child and adult time--it's a great balance. There are plenty of smiles and laughter and also a few tears. I'm looking forward to returning again this summer! Happy 30th Anniversary Camp Sunshine!!

Jillian6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is truly the happiest and brightest place to be. I volunteered for the first time four years ago and it completely changed my life for the better. The highlight of my year is being able to volunteer, meet new families, reconnect with old and help allow these families experience a vacation they will never forget. At camp it isn't about the diseases that define the child but getting to know the child for who they truly are. The staff is amazing, the campus is breath taking and it truly is a home away from home. Volunteering at camp has brought me to my future career goals to become a child life specialist. I will continue to volunteer year after year! It is rewarding to be able to see the families and volunteers come together in remembering what life is all about. We come together to multiply our joy and happiness and divide our troubles. Camp Sunshine will always be my favorite place!

Marianne B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow what to say about Camp Sunshine. Smiles, laughter, fun, friendship and oh so much more. I have been involved in non-profits before as a volunteer but never one quite as loving, caring, compassionate and dedicated as this camp is. From the relentless dedicated staff who make sure that families have everything they need from arrival to departure, to the thousands of volunteers that are attracted to the camp and what it stands for. And what it stands for to the many who come through the doors – HOPE. The bonding that takes place between the campers themselves, as well as the volunteers is simply amazing. No one is left behind, what I mean is that every family member is treated as royalty. They have so many activities (from sports, to arts and crafts, games, singing and dancing, just to name a few) for the different age groups, from the littlest camper to the biggest, each individual is special . Winter, spring, summer or fall the camps activity is on-going. Certainly anyone who has a child with a life-threatening illness whether near or far should come to camp, it will change your life, you will leave rejuvenated. If you are interested in volunteering this camp will also change your life, as it has mine, you will leave exhausted but the joy inside your heart is like nothing else, knowing that you have spent the week in such a hopeful, respectful and loving environment and you WILL want to do it again. It is and always will be an honor to volunteer for such an outstanding non-profit as Camp Sunshine is.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow to be able to tell the world about Camp Sunshine is such an honor. My daughter was the first in our family to volunteer she was 16 at the time. When she came home she was so excited and so uplifted about her experience I couldn’t wait to go. A couple of years went by and because of life I was unable to go but it nagged at me. So in 2010 I decided no more excuses I was going and I invited my sister who was recovering from breast cancer. That decision changed my life, working with families and children who everyday struggle with so much more than the rest of us made me realize just how lucky my family, friends and I were. Camp Sunshine became my purpose in life, I don’t have a lot of money, but I do have time and I am so grateful that I found that time in 2010 because I came home and shared my feelings and now my children, their friends, and my neighbors are all volunteering. Camp Sunshine is like a fine tuned machine, the staff and volunteers (who are all so absolutely wonderful) are there for the families and the families who are lucky enough to come have the experience of a life time. For the first time many families are relaxed, they can breathe easy for a few days, experience friendship with people who understand their plight, and most importantly they have fun. I along with many other volunteers walk away with a feeling of such pride to have been able to walk beside volunteers, staff and families for those few days. And many of us make lifetime friends, I am happy to say that I now volunteer a few times a year and I consider that one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Camp Sunshine for over 5 years and it's consistently the best weeks of my year. The Camp itself has great facilities and treats all their volunteers with utmost respect and kindness, even going out of the way to learn everyone's name when thousands of us pass through there every year.

The families I've met have all echoed the same sentiment - that camp sunshine is amazing. I can only speak from a volunteer point of view but I know that I have witnessed communities of support come together and help each other get through this difficult time in their lives.

Volunteering at camp has literally changed my life and I don't see a time in my life when I wouldn't make the trip there at least once a year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is a truly amazing place. It is wonderful what a talented, dedicated staff and a bunch of enthusiastic, caring volunteers can accomplish for the families that are able to attend. It provides a magical experience for everyone who is involved and it gives each person the opportunity to give of themselves to another individual and have a real impact on the lives of others. I have served as a volunteer and am returning this weekend to volunteer again. I plan to return as often as I am able. It is a life changing experience.

Sarah-Fay M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have now had the opportunity to volunteer at camp four times and will be returning this weekend to volunteer again. As a former client served I cannot even begin to describe how much of an impact this organization has had on my family and my life. When we attended as a family my brother and I, the "normal" siblings, were finally able to find others that we could relate with and really, really talk to. My brothers and I have established lifelong friendships from our time as campers. I began volunteering last year by myself and was able to share the volunteer experience with my mother and my husband this year; I honestly inform everyone about Camp Sunshine and encourage volunteering or supporting Camp in any way. It is impossible to put into words how much Camp means to me, but I can tell you that I am constantly using my earned vacation and personal days to VOLUNTEER, if that shows you how amazing volunteering for this organization is.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I attended camp was in the early 2000's as a camper; my brother had leukemia and we attended as a family three to four times. Camp is such an amazing place for families experiencing these hardships to sit back, relax, and connect. I finally was able to give back and volunteer this summer and can say that volunteering is even more of an amazing experience. You can see the joy, hope and gratitude in the families eyes as they are able to have a normal summer experience. By the time the week was over I did not want to leave and jumped at the opportunity to come back, which I will be doing in about two weeks. I have also spread the word about Camp to ALL of my family and friends and can't wait to spread the joy and hope for the years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

H'yall, I've been volunteering at Camp Sunshine since the late 1980's, and will continue as long as the car and the body make it up north, now that I am retired. Just love it. My short, but wonderful story: When I arrived at camp for a session this year, a small boy ran over to me with a huge smile and a big hug, laughing and saying "Jeanie, Jeanie, you're here again, and so am I." "Will you be with the 6-8 (year old) kids?" I answered "yes" and he pointed to himself, and said "that's still me." "Hurry up and come say hi to my Mom and Dad. They want to see you." "This is so really great," he said.

How can anyone beat that for a beginning of a Camp Sunshine session.... And this is what Camp Sunshine is all about. New families, returning families, and great volunteers and staff. All sharing a love for children and wanting to make it the very best experience for everyone.

Maureen B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at Camp Sunshine since 1997. To say its been a wonderful experience is an understatement. The staff is amazing in making each families experience such a special one. The volunteers are so selfless and giving. We bond into a family for each session. I fall in love with the children and parents each session I volunteer. I've met so many wonderful families and volunteers who have become very dear friends. Camp Sunshine is exceptional.