Sunrise Day Camp: a Very Special Place

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Camp is camp and kids are kids. At Sunrise Day Camp you see happy kids and happy counselors busy and engaged in a variety of activities, just like at any other camp. So what makes Sunrise Day Camp so special? Maybe you see a lot of kids with bandanas and hats, but you can see that at any camp. But if you look hard, you’ll see a lot of hand sanitizing stations around the campsite and a full-service wellness center. This is because Sunrise Day Camp is the only day camp in the nation dedicated to providing a free summer camp experience to kids with cancer and their siblings.

Operated by the Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, NY, Sunrise Day Camp in Long Island opened its doors in 2006. This summer, in partnership with the Rosenthal JCC, Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River  began its inaugural season.

Anyone who has visited Sunrise Day Camp on Long Island can tell you that it’s something truly special.  This week, I got to spend time at Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River, and it is just as amazing.

The day I visited campers were being treated to a special event hosted by Friends of Sunrise volunteers. Friends of Sunrise will host four volunteer days at each site during the camp season. I was fortunate to join them for Arts and Crafts/Disco Day.

Sunrise’s Art Zone was taken over by volunteers running so many creative, fun and even yummy activities.

Campers were able to decorate cupcakes; get their face painted; decorate door hangers, bookmarks, and visors; and get tattooed.

After the art festivities were over the whole camp got together for a dance party with a live DJ. Even with the heat campers, staff and volunteers had a ball dancing to the music. I’m not sure who was having more fun- the campers or the volunteers.

Days like this are unique.  The rest of the time, Sunrise campers are engaged in the same activities you might see at any camp: swimming, playing sports, singing and more.

Volunteers help campers decorate sun visors. Perfect for theses sunny days!

Volunteers help campers decorate sun visors. Perfect for theses sunny days!


Don't worry! These tatoos wash off.

Don’t worry! These tatoos wash off.


Campers moving to the tunes at this Dance Party.

Campers moving to the tunes at this Dance Party.


Camp is camp and kids are kids. So what makes Sunrise so special? EVERYTHING!

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