I was lucky enough to go back home again this year. And by that I mean Camp Sunshine.
Before I get too far into this post, let me take a minute to thank the people who made it possible for me to go.
- My awesome Mother-In-Law who took care of E this week. I think they burned more miles at the local children’s museum than anyone else. E is still talking about her new friends from “my camp” and all the fun they had together.
- One of my best friends from our old neighborhood, Stacy. She took K this week and I’m pretty sure K would have been content to spend the rest of her summer there. She most definitely did not want to come home.
- And last, but never least, Jason. Jason is my amazing husband. He encourages me and sends me love notes almost everyday. He sent me sweet texts reminding me that what I was doing at camp was invaluable. J- thank you so much for keeping everything moving and going while I was gone.
This was my 20th summer at Camp Sunshine.
Last summer was my first summer back after a seven-year hiatus of raising our girls and moving to a different state.
This was also camp’s 35th year. I started going to camp in 1990 when it was only seven years old. That’s a long time to be in one place. And I have to say, it’s never enough.
Camp Sunshine is a magical place. It is filled with love. Seriously. I know how it sounds. I know that when I write it out that I can never fully express what it is like to go.
When I was a camper I remember thinking that it must be hard to be a counselor. It was so obvious to me that my counselors would do anything to make camp amazing for us. In someways they would literally bend over backwards for us.
And that’s still true. As a counselor for my 9th year I absolutely knew that I would do anything for my campers. If they had a goal or wanted to try something I was going to do whatever I could to make sure they reached it.
I was talking with a camper that was graduating from camp this past week. He was a little sad that he’d just completed his last activity as a camper. And it was a great activity. One that involved courage and strength. I was lucky enough to watch him help one of my campers do this same brave activity. But after it was done, he was uncertain. I understood these feelings. I understood them in a deep way.
“I promise that being a counselor is better than being a camper could every be.” I told him.
And that is the truest thing I know about Camp Sunshine.
I had nine campers this past week.
They were all in different places in their treatments. All came with their own feelings and concerns from home. Some of their concerns had nothing to do with cancer. Some had everything to do with cancer. But I was privileged enough to listen to these girls as they talked to one another. They gave suggestions on the best pre-meds before chemo. They talked to each other about how surgeries felt and worked. They also talked about the struggles with homework, their favorite books (PS- Romana Blue by Julie Murphy was a clear winner amongst them), and how irritating siblings could be. We talked about boys and the upcoming camp dance.
I can tell you all about how camp normalizes cancer.
But more importantly Camp Sunshine gives weary souls a place to rest.