2011 Camp Sunrise Offers a Bit of Magic: by Pat McGuinness

After months of preparation, our 2011 Camp Sunrise is behind us. It was a success as they all seem to be. Caregivers and volunteers returned tired yet jubilant for the successes of the weekend's effort. They have had time to reflect on the experience and as seems to be the case every year, I hear this comment: "This was a really special camp...the best ever in fact." We all laugh because everyone knows that every year feels like the best year ever. Then someone piped in and put it in perspective: "It was almost magical...the way the kids all opened up to each other and worked together on their grief." It was a kind of a no holds barred observation and, as most agreed, it was true.


Perhaps the most recent Camp always feels better than the last because we always seem to learn something new from kids who attend that we can apply to our adult lives. This year brings to mind the Maya Angelou quote "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."


This year's kids displayed extraordinary courage in their willingness to be reflective and to share with each other insights about their loss and the associated pain. And in doing so they helped each other over enormous hurdles.


As I listen to the discussions I can't help but think what a wonderful journey Camp Sunrise can be for the kids and for us adults alike. The kids discover--and adults rediscover--the healing that can come through sharing with others. For the children it is sometimes the first bit of awareness of their intrinsic value as courageous, contributing human beings. For the adults...a reminder of the big feelings of joy that come from little acts of care and courage.