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’s program is offered year-round and has the distinction of having been designed to serve the entire family in a retreat model. Team Telomere partnered with Camp Sunshine in 2010 to provide this retreat for families impacted by Telomere Biology Disorders. The retreat free of charge for families, offered bi-annually, and is attended by medical professionals who specialize in TBD/DCs. These medical professionals provided information about the disease with regard to their specialty and are available for family consultations during the session.
Recreational activities allow children and adults to relax and make connections with other families impacted by TBD/DCs. While at Camp Sunshine, each family stays in their own suite, equipped with two twin beds, bunk beds, a futon, full bathroom, microwave oven, and refrigerator. Meals are provided in the dining room and are occasions for socializing and unwinding.
Moderated parent groups are provided during Camp Sunshine sessions and are tailored to parents’ needs. These sessions are often the first opportunity parents have had to share their experiences with others in similar situations. The groups provide a forum in which parents can gain insight and support in dealing with illness-related issues.
A physician is available 24-hours a day throughout each session to support the medical needs of families attending Camp. In addition, a state-of-the-art children’s hospital is only 40 minutes from Camp, and an urgent care center and community hospital with fully staffed emergency rooms are 20 minutes away.
Camp Sunshine volunteers serve as camp counselors, and work in many areas of the program, including food service, arts and crafts, and a variety of other activities.