Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River

by Richard Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester

Thanks to all of the donors who have contributed generously to support Sunrise Day Camp through the Rosenthal JCC. Sadly, the JCC will be closing its doors on June 30, 2016. Fortunately, Sunrise Day Camp will continue through the Sunrise Association. Please contact Beth Fetner at for more information or to make further donations. Efforts are being made to ensure that families will be able to continue to access all other services through other community providers. We are deeply saddened over the loss to the community of this institution after 36 years, but we are proud of the vital work we have done to enhance the lives of those children in our community battling cancer. Your support helped to make that possible.


Lisa Roberts

Enjoying Musical Entertainment at Winter Reunion
Enjoying Musical Entertainment at Winter Reunion

Sunrise Day Camp Campers celebrate the Winter with a successful “Winter Festival Reunion” !

Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River has 3 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 the JCC in October 2015 and then another, even more successful, camper-only reunion in December 2015. Over 70 Sunrise campers and 25 staff members attended the third annual “Winter Festival Reunion” on Sunday, December 20 at the Rosenthal JCC in Pleasantville, NY. Campers and staff came in from all over the Metro NY area.

The reunion kicked off with lots of hugs, joy, and laughter as campers reunited with each other and favorite staff. Everyone enjoyed a sing-a-long concert by Michael Aloi of “Songs for Smiles”, a pizza lunch, followed by choices of various activities. Campers enjoyed the “Moon Bounce”, sports and games in the gym, winter-themed crafts and snacks. As a way to “wind down”, everyone relaxed while watching the movie “Minions” 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, plus other donors. The story behind the gifts is truly 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 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. Another donor of presents was Chavurat Tikvah of Southern Westchester. Sheri Seiler and Erica Baren, from Sunrise's Rock the River Committee, initiated a toy drive in their communities, and they collected and wrapped over 60 beautiful gifts for our campers. 

Sunrise campers were so thrilled with their presents! Thank you to Carmel families, Chavurat Tikvah, Sheri Seiler and Erica Baren! And thank you to our amazing Assistant Camp Director, Jeremy Levin, a teacher at Carmel, for spearheading this meaningful project.

Enjoying the outdoors at Winter Reunion
Enjoying the outdoors at Winter Reunion
Thank you Carmel 2015
Thank you Carmel 2015
So Happy to be at the Reunion!
So Happy to be at the Reunion!

Every fall we hold a “Fall Festival Family Reunion” at camp in Rockland County before the weather turns cold to celebrate fall and bring campers, their families and staff together. It is always so wonderful to see everyone and enjoy the Sunrise facilities decorated with scarecrows, hay, pumpkins and other fall symbols. We planned for this fall’s reunion to take place at camp on Sunday, October 4.  It rained for a few days before that, so we moved the event to our off-season offices at the Rosenthal JCC in Pleasantville, but that did not hamper attendance, spirit or enthusiasm.

The morning of the reunion 11 volunteers (1 adult and 10 teens) arrived at the JCC to help decorate and set up for the day.  They set up the s’mores kits, filled backpacks with donated school supplies and cut out papers that were later used for art projects, and set up an outdoor corn “maze”! They also had a chance to learn about Sunrise from our Camp Director, Sandy Haft.  Then gradually about 25 Sunrise Staff members and 90 campers, siblings and parents from all over the Metro NY area – from various towns in New Jersey, Orange County, Rockland, the Bronx, Westchester and Manhattan, arrived by bus and car to enjoy the Fall Festivities at the JCC.  Laughter and joy filled the air as staff and campers greeted and hugged each other.

Campers and their families enjoyed participating in a variety of activities. The JCC was decorated for fall and we used most of the rooms in the facility for all of the different events. Campers and families had their photos taken and then they decorated photo frames. Other projects included creating door hangers and colorful fall-themed sun catchers, and pumpkin decorating.  Campers and families gobbled s’mores and chocolate covered pretzels, which they had made. Sports activities enjoyed by all included basketball, “Moon Bounce” jumper, outdoor playground and the outdoor corn maze.

At the end of the day, each child received a brand new school backpack that was filled with a variety of school supplies. The backpacks and supplies were collected by UJA Federation and given to Sunrise. The children were so thrilled with these backpacks! We were happy too about receiving the donations!

Thank you to all of the volunteers and donors who made this reunion possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Our next reunion will take place on December 20 at the JCC and this get together will be limited to children and camp staff.  We will have a musical performance for all to enjoy.  We invite the campers without parents to this reunion to allow parents to go holiday shopping or just enjoy some personal time. We can’t wait to see everybody again in December!

Campers and Staff Reuniting!
Campers and Staff Reuniting!
Pumpkin Decorating was Fun!
Pumpkin Decorating was Fun!
Camper enjoys the New Treehouse
Camper enjoys the New Treehouse

We just completed our 3rd summer at Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River, and everyone had a fantastic summer! We were so sad to see camp end but so many wonderful memories of the summer were created that will last forever.

Our camper attendance reached an all-time high of 193 campers, up 44% versus the summer of 2014. Our campers traveled from all over the NY Metro region just to come to Sunrise: Rockland, Westchester, Orange County, Manhattan, Bronx, and 9 counties in New Jersey.

Everyone had a blast this summer! One of the most special treats of the summer was the opening of the new Sunrise Treehouse built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters” and financed by Quicken Loans. The treehouse is multi level, whimsically designed, handicapped accessible and fits beautifully into the landscape of the camp. Campers can enjoy activities such as music, board games, reading, and bowling on the upper level of the treehouse, and swings and hanging out on the lower level. We were so excited when Pete Nelson featured Sunrise on his TV show on Friday, August 21! You can watch the show by clicking on this link:

Another summer highlight was the annual “color war” in which campers and counselors were divided into 2 teams and enjoyed friendly competition for 3 days. This year’s color war break featured some animals that had escaped from their zoo and their zookeeper who was chasing after them! The 2 teams were the Orange Jaguars and the Green Pythons, and campers and staff dressed up in costume and body paint for all of color war. In 3 days, Sunrise campers and staff on each team designed and decorated a creative plaque and banner, and also performed a skit, song, and cheer all related to their team’s theme. One of the most craziest and exciting events of color war was the Apache Relay. Everyone at camp was involved in the Apache Relay and had a wonderful time. Color war is just pure fun and it doesn’t matter who wins! Our campers learned that respect and sportsmanship are more important than winning and these are lessons that are best learned at summer camp.

Looking ahead, our annual “Fall Festival Family Reunion” will take place at camp on Sunday, October 4. The festivities will begin in the morning with volunteers setting up crafts and fall themed decorations. Camp families and staff members will arrive in the afternoon and will enjoy a variety of fall crafts and treats. We can’t wait to see everybody!

Orange Jaguars Show their Strength!
Orange Jaguars Show their Strength!
Green Pythons got the spirit!
Green Pythons got the spirit!

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!


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Organization Information

Richard Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester

Location: Pleasantville, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Richard Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester
Project Leader:
Lindsay Weiss
Pleasantville, New York United States

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