Amanda and Melissa Slack ’11 spent most of their summer volunteering at Camp Sunshine on the beaches of Sebago Lake in Maine. The camp serves children with life-threatening illnesses (such as cancer, kidney disease and organ transplants) and their families. The games and events are designed to foster family involvement as a whole and build a new foundation to unite the family during the tough times they will experience. The camp also allows the families to create a network of other parents and children of all ages who understand the hardships they confront.
Camp Sunshine is staffed by more than 2,000 volunteers like the Slacks throughout the year, ranging in ages from 16 to 80. The volunteers help with activities such as arts and crafts, childcare, food service and other miscellaneous tasks. The women participated in a number of activities with campers, from boating on Sebago lake, swimming in the pool and climbing on the ropes course, to cooking, making wish boats, singing in a talent show, and participating in a balloon launch and having a costume celebration.
Amanda Slack says that volunteering at Camp Sunshine was “one of the most inspirational and meaningful” things she has participated in and she hopes to continue volunteering there in the future.
She also reminisces that “There were smiles everywhere,” adding she often forgot how sick the children actually were and it was a great feeling to have children with life-threatening illnesses laughing and as happy as ever. She appreciated that the camp provides the children a time to just be kids, rather than the “sick kid.”One mom told her that her kids would rather go to Camp Sunshine than Disney World!