It is so wonderful to be looking toward our upcoming 2015 camp season, having weathered a long and weary winter! Everyone is excited and anticipating much fun at Sunrise Day Camp in Pearl River. Camp cleanup began the weekend of May 17 as staff and volunteers worked to spruce up our grounds. Pearl River will be an even more special place to be this summer with the addition of a ceramic studio and kiln as well as a large scoreboard for our campers. Many thanks to our donors who make it possible for our campers to enjoy new and creative experiences. Our mission could not be achieved without the generosity of our donors who came out in a March snowstorm to attend our yearly Rock the River concert event at the Capitol Theater, in Portchester, NY.
Our next major fundraising event will be on June 14th with SunriseWalks at Pearl River and across the world. We are currently working to bring out the Westchester and Rockland communities for their support on this upcoming day.
We continue to bring sunshine from Sunrise as the wheels rolled into Hackensack University Medical Center last month for our tenth in-hospital Sunrise on Wheels program! This past year, Sunrise on Wheels was initiated at 3 of our Pearl River affiliated hospitals. Our volunteer teams have kindly donated their time weekly to bring smiles to many children. We are grateful to these dedicated individuals who make Sunrise on Wheels a meaningful and successful endeavor.
Volunteer opportunities to see Sunrise Day Camp in action are coming up over the summer on scheduled volunteer days. We welcome those who are interested to contact Marianne Bosshart for more information at 914-741-0333.
Our countdown to camp begins; Summer 2015 is only a little more than a month away!
Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River conducts two camp reunions during the off season to extend the “magic” of camp and to allow for the campers to see each other and various staff members. Sunrise-Pearl River hosted a very successful fall-themed family reunion at our campgrounds on Sunday, October 12 and then an equally successful, camper-only reunion in December. Over 50 Sunrise campers and 25 staff members attended the second annual “Winter Festival Reunion” on Sunday, December 21 at Sunrise’s off-season offices in Pleasantville, NY. Campers and staff came in from all over the Metro NY area – from various towns in New Jersey, Orange County, Rockland, the Bronx, Westchester and Manhattan.
The reunion kicked off with lots of hugs, joy, and laughter as campers reunited with each other and with favorite counselors and staff. Everyone enjoyed a pizza lunch, followed by choices of various activities. Campers enjoyed the “Moon Bounce”, sports and games in the gym, winter-themed crafts, snacks, and singing camp songs. As a way to “wind down”, everyone relaxed while watching the movie “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” and snacking on popcorn in the gym.
One highlight of the reunion was the presentation of holiday gifts that were donated by the Carmel Academy of Greenwich, Connecticut. The story behind the gifts is quite heart-warming. Carmel 3rd grade students participated in a month-long fundraising project. They read books every night and parents donated money based on the amount of time that their child spent reading. The Carmel kindergarteners heard about this 3rd grade project and they decided to add their weekly charity donations to the fund. The students (after counting the money, which became a math lesson) then purchased age-appropriate toys and gift cards for all of the campers who attended the reunion. Additional funds collected from parents and grandparents supplemented the students’ funds. Sunrise campers were thrilled with their presents and Carmel families were thrilled that they were able to do good a deed for families in need! Thank you Carmel students, parents and grandparents! And thank you to our Assistant Camp Director, Jeremy Levin, a teacher at Carmel for spearheading this amazing project.
Enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers bring joy and play to the outpatient waiting and infusion sites at area hospitals, creating a camp-like atmosphere filled with FUN! The Sunrise on Wheels Pearl River program has achieved great success over the past six months and has served more than 300 children this year.
In April 2014, Sunrise Day Camp Pearl River initiated its first Sunrise on Wheels Program at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. A few months later in July 2014, the Wheels program rolled into New York- Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital's outpatient setting, and we anticipate that Sunrise on Wheels will be bringing smiles to children at Hackensack University Medical Center in Winter/Spring 2015. We are very excited about our new endeavors in the hospitals and appreciate their wonderful collaboration and reception of this program.
Crafty creations presented weekly have kept participants from ages 1 to 23 years engaged and distracted from the reality of being at the site for necessary and often painful and scary cancer treatments. Some of our most recent favorite projects are classy clipboards, painted pumpkins and terrific turkeys. In addition, children and teens at the program have learned to play new games, master puzzles and interact with one another in a playroom-like atmosphere. Much fun lies in the donated trunk filled with treasures to keep patients occupied during our sessions. Parents often share in the activities or take the opportunity to meet with a medical professional while their child is busy with the Wheels team. One parent at New York Presbyterian said, "I changed the appointment day I come to the hospital for outpatient treatment with my 19 month old as she loves the projects she gets to make and spending time playing with the Sunrise on Wheels volunteers!"
The magical weekly activity at Maria Fareri and NYP could not be accomplished without the generosity of our volunteers and donors. Sunrise on Wheels has been welcomed and so well-received at our 9 Sunrise Day Camp hospitals. We are thrilled to report that when the Wheels roll into Hackensack University Medical Center we will be at #10!!! Let’s roll on….
At Sunrise – Pearl River, local corporations play a vital role in the keeping our camp's magic going year after year. So every summer we invite our corporate supporters to help with a special volunteer day event for the kids. This year, we were thrilled to have our friends from Pfizer join us during “Superhero Week”.
Over 25 volunteers toured our beautiful campgrounds and then helped prepare and run an afternoon of “super” activities. We began with field games including, Pass the Kryptonite, The X-Ray Vision Game, Super Duper Obstacle Course, Guess the Superhero, and Superman’s Cape. Then we moved indoors for some superhero themed arts and crafts. The children also received a surprise, live visit from Batman and the Hulk!
Volunteers from the Pfizer Pearl River Team later commented, “Volunteering at the Sunrise Camp Corporate Day gave each of us such joy. The campers reminded us that what we do each day to produce pharmaceuticals for children is important work and the results are immeasurable. Their smiles said it all. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your wonderful program.”
This summer, nearly 150 children submitted applications and were medically cleared to attend Sunrise – Pearl River, which is offered completely free of charge. Without the support of the entire community, including generous individuals and corporations like Pfizer, Sunrise could not do what it does each summer. Therefore, every year we begin our efforts anew, to ensure that children with cancer in our area get the chance to stop feeling like patients and the opportunity to just feel like kids again.
We asked them to roll up their sleeves, get a little dirty, and prepare to work – and that’s exactly what happened when over 45 volunteers descended upon Sunrise Day Camp – Pearl River to help prepare the grounds for this year’s summer season. Volunteers of all ages came out for our second annual clean-up day and got busy sanding, painting, moving debris, cleaning, and planting to create a fresh, colorful and welcoming environment for our Sunrise Campers.
At Sunrise, safety is priority number one and for children with cancer that means special care must be taken to keep things safe and sanitary. For that reason many volunteers focused on meticulously cleaning the tables and chairs in our Sunrise Pavilion, which our campers use throughout the camp day. Other volunteers gave our “Round-up” bleachers a thorough sanding (to remove any rough edges or potential splinters) and a new coat of paint. Still others spent hours clearing debris from the center of camp and surrounding trails. Since some Sunrise campers struggle with mobility, tripping on a branch or a loose stone could cause serious injury.
Many volunteers made clean-up day a family affair. No matter their age, everyone pitched in and found a way to give back to children with cancer. Mother and daughter team Wendy and Jamie Nanus brought flats of flowers and devoted their day to beautifying our camp’s “Quiet Spot”, a special place where siblings can go during the camp day to be alone together. Jamie remarked, “I can’t imagine being a kid and having to live with cancer. I wanted to come today and help make this camp the most beautiful place they’ve ever seen.”
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Director of Development, Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River