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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake Inc

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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

100 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Happiest place on earth (yes, happier than Disney!)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful place full of wonderful people and wonderful experiences. Would spend every week there if I could.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Camp since 2015 and I absolutely love being able to help sick children and their families escape their normal reality for a bit. I will continue to come back year after year!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp is an amazing place and I love being here! I first started coming when I was 16 and now I have been to camp over 30 times. There is no better place to spend a summer. The people you meet and the experiences you have with stay with you through your whole life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is a truly incredible place where everyone feels welcome. On the last day of camp, it is not unusual to see babies and teenagers alike crying because they don't want to leave their "home." For these campers, Camp Sunshine is their "safe place"; for a moment, they get to "fit in" and people just "get them." For once, it's kind of cool to be the person who has a life threatening illness. For their siblings and their parents, it's more of the same. Camp Sunshine provides them a place to meet people who truly understand what they go through day in and day out. They can swap stories, tips, advice, and give and receive love. Camp Sunshine allows these families a chance to get away, be a family, and be with people who understand. Since Camp Sunshine is free for those attending and volunteering, it also provides a vacation to those who are financially strapped by medical bills. It is a magical, life giving place.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Five stars aren't enough for a nonprofit that means the moon and the stars to those who attend. My family and I have just returned from a week at camp. We volunteer each year because we have witnessed the mission of Camp Sunshine and know what it means to the families who attend sessions year round. The session we recently returned from focused on a disease so rare that there are fewer than 1,000 known to have the life threatening illness. We talked of the value of "fitting in" at camp and how rarely they have an opportunity to fit in. There are no words to explain what it means to help others and to learn that in helping others the gifts are shared. Thank you Camp Sunshine for your dedication to families across the 50 states and Canada.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunttered at this camp and had a blast. All of the staff was very helpful and the kids were so much fun.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely loved being a yellow shirt here! Will be back!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered twice at this amazing place and plan to continue as long as I can. You really feel like you make a difference here. A wonderful place for everyone!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best place in the world! You really make a difference volunteering!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is hard to explain to people who have never experienced the magic it holds. However it is truly one of the happiest places on Earth. From the staff and volunteers to the incredibly strong families that fill this campus you will always leave knowing you belong somewhere special. This place will change you for the better and you'll find yourself coming back time and time again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is a life changing experience and is my absolute favorite place on Earth. All of the volunteers are so nice and upbeat and all of the kids have a truly amazing spirit that can't be beaten. You'look make friendships will kids that will last a lifetime and change your life forever. I remember I was very close with this one kid and when his mom met me, she said "welcome to the family" and I think that pretty much sums up what Camp Sunshine is all about!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering here is an amazing experience I will never forget!!! The most beautiful and scenic place I have been in my life, and has many awesome things to do with the kids such as kayaking, mini golf, volleyball, ziplines, etc. Volunteer and family suites are very nice. Amazing place, loving volunteers and staff, and overall amazing experience! Can't wait to volunteer again next summer and I would highly reccommend it.

1 Amanda254

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine stole my heart. This summer was my first time volunteering, and I can see why so many people return year after year. I know I will be from now on. It is an incredible environment filled with incredible people. It was touching how much work went into making these families happy. The volunteers were wonderful, the staff was appreciative and kind, and the families I will never forget. Camp Sunshine is such a special place. I think back to the week I spent there constantly and cannot, absolutely cannot!!, wait to go back. Camp Sunshine is like no other.

1 David370

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the great pleasure of being involved with Camp Sunshine for the last 28 years. I first went to camp as a patient with my family in 1988 and the experience was so unbelievable, we went back for years as counselors. Everyone from the Drs. to the kitchen staff, Anna Gould, Mike Katz, etc...do an awesome job and treat everyone with respect and it makes you want to go back year after year. To see the difference between the first day families get there and the last night singing "That's what friends are for" is amazing and I hope to get back to volunteer again soon. Try volunteering just once and you will fall in love with Camp Sunshine!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at this amazing place the past two summers and based on my experience, I can easily say this is the greatest place in the world. People say Disney is the most magical place on earth, but spending just hours at Camp Sunshine, there is no question this place beats Disney. Camp Sunshine has changed my life as a volunteer, for the better, but the impact it has had on me, is because of the families it serves. These families who have struggled through the impossible challenges of having an extremely ill child, deserve every little and special aspect this place has to offer. It is truly a safe haven for parents, siblings, and most importantly patients.

Lillie L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has been volunteering at this AMAZING place for families who have a child going through a life threatening disease since our son Carter turned 16 and could give back and volunteer as a counselor.

This camp is a respite for the whole family! Cancer truly impacts the entire family and this beautiful place in Maine understand how to bring love and support, fun, laughs and lots of entertainment for all campers!

Hands up Camp Sunshine:) You have cultivated a beautiful experience filled with hope and love - keep it up!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Sunshine is the most amazing place on earth!!! Kids and families get a break and have a blast while gaining support from each other!!! Our family started as campers and now we volunteer several weeks a year!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering there in college and I've continued throughout medical school. The relationships you build with the families are invaluable and the perspective the whole experience gives you is extremely unique. I'll continue to volunteer there as often as I can and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Colleen P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Camp Sunshine for the past 12 years. Volunteering during different weeks and weekends in different areas. The opportunity that Camp Sunshine gives to families going through a difficult medical issue with their child is awesome. To bring fun, joy, knowledge, sharing etc, to parents and children has brought joy to my life each time I volunteered. Each week or weekend is special for all involved and have special memories. Some of my favorite memories are:
1). The smiling face of a 6 year old making a craft for their parent or sibling.
2).The toddlers having a "parade" with Musical instruments.
3). The teens winning the "Love Cup"
4). The ice cream soda dessert and little kids watching the foam rise.
One can go on and on about the wonderful loving experience Camp Sunshine families and volunteers provides. It surely is a special place!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Camp Sunshine 10 years ago as a chaperone for our high school group. I have bought about a dozen students each year to volunteer each summer at Camp Sunshine. I have also recruited my husband to volunteer. We have even volunteered on other weeks and weekends without having to chaperone my high school students because we believe in the program that Camp Sunshine offers the families in attendance. The connections you make with the families, other volunteers, and Camp staff are special.

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