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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

Crystal21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is a world renowned retreat for families who have those suffering from a life threatening illness. It is an innovative and paramount program. I was a volunteer during their Lupus week in 2009 living near by attending college as a nursing student. The incentive to participate in volunteering at Camp Sunshine was motivating; however, the experience was moving. I gained so much from the experience that are difficult to put into words. I will continue to volunteer for such an amazing organization for my years to come.

Sharon59

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is a magical place where children and young adults with cancer come to spend time with their familys. ..........many would think that camp sunshine would be sad but I believe that it is a place where all are accpeted no explanations needed, familys are able to rejuvanate and fun is had by all ...................the caring love and healing that takes place at campsunshine really can not be explained but i can honestly say that you are not the same person who entered the door when it is time to go home!! Your heart is full and faith in mankind is restored!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is an absolutely amazing place. I have volunteered for three years and can't wait to go back. They programming is superb, they are very organized, and when I volunteer I feel very useful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I volunteered as counselors at Camp Sunshine for three consecutive years. During that time I had the wonderful opportunity to learn exactly how the Camp operated (caring, supportive, loving, efficient) and how the campers regarded their experience. To summarize it all - virtually every camper I interacted with during Lupus week regarded the experience as one of the best in their lives and started looking forward to their return to Camp the next year almost before they had left. They formed friendships, kept in close contact with each other, and gained invaluable knowledge about dealing with their illness in their family lives and in their social worlds. FABULOUS JOB CAMP SUNSHINE!!!!

Kristina L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at Camp Sunshine for four years now, and it is without a doubt one of the most loving, wonderful places I've ever been. As a camp that serves children fighting illness as well as their families, it is uniquely effective at supporting entire families. In my time, I saw parents finding support and understanding in each other, sick children being treated as normal, and healthy siblings receiving lots of attention that they may not get at home. I became particularly close with one family, especially their youngest, healthy son. Though we only spent a week together, we have remained in touch and I attended their sick son's funeral when he tragically passed last year. Camp Sunshine families were there to support this family in happy times and the worst time of all. I love the camp as a resource for those in need and as a fun, happy summer camp for those who are lucky enough to attend. I cannot recommend the camp more.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

KAREN AND PETER MACKIEWICZ : My husband and I are both volunteers and parents of one of the earliest cancer patients ( in 1986) to have been blessed by Camp Sunshine. Way before their spectacular current facility was built Camp Sunshine facilitated the same special respite for us that could not be found anywhere else in the midst of chemotherapy. Our experience going back as volunteers was as moving and inspiring as ever. CAMP SUNSHINE MAKES A PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF FAMILIES FIGHTING CANCER.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about Camp Sunshine through a friend from college. Myself and 3 friends took a long weekend to go to one of the first winter sessions that Camp had held. The only way I can think to describe my experience is absolutely life changing. Just walking onto campus you immediately feel welcome and like you've been going there for years. Then you get to meet the families. How these kids, siblings, and parents make it through day after day astounds me. I left Camp after that first weekend feeling so grateful, humbled, amazed, and inspired....and I have returned every chance I get since then. The people I have met, the bonds I have formed, the relationships I have made, and the memories I have, have made an incredible impact on my life and will stay with me forever. I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to experience the magic that is Camp Sunshine.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for 6 summers. There was a group of high school students from a school in Worcester, MA that showed remarkable maturity. It gave me great hope for the next generation. The Camp is an oasis of magic. From the three front doors of different sizes to the cooking crew to the different families that have been a part of Camp over the years, each year is breathtaking and incredibly life-changing. The campers and volunteers Ihave spent time with have been very resilient people. you would like to have them as part of your group of friends. There is a true sense of family at Camp, and that is another reason that Sunshine is so tremendous. Parents can relax and have fun without worrying about their ill child. The siblings can get attention they need. All can share and learn from each other.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

How many ways can we, that are privileged enough to volunteer at Camp Sunshine, explain what the camp means? It is a chance to help others, yes. It is a chance to get out of our comfort zone and grow, yes. It is chance to meet many people we would never meet from all over the country, yes. But the most important part for me as a volunteer is being allowed to step into the world reluctantly occupied by cancer families. They let me help by accepting that I care, even if I can't really empathize for lack of walking in their shoes. Each time I apply to bring a group of teens from Harvard, MA or attend on my own I hold my breath hoping that there will be a spot for me. i don't care if I am weeding, shooting photos or handing out athletic equipment, I just want to be there. I am there to help and its my favorite place to be.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with my family during Lupus week at camp sunshine for 6 years now and I can confidently say that it is always the best week of the year. I was very apprehensive the first time we went; it could have been an uncomfortable and disheartening experience to be around sick children and their families, but it was just the opposite. Camp sunshine is a place filled with so much happiness and love an acceptance, it is impossible not to revel in the joy that it brings people. My family and I fell in love with this place and it is the one week we look foward to every year, no matter what. The people at camp sunshine have become my second family, and camp my second home.