We’ve provided memorable summers since 2006 for children ages 3 ½ -16! Sunrise Association Day Camps and year-round programs bring back childhood pleasures to children struggling with cancer. Sunrise changes months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with sunshine, laughter and happiness. Since they are day camps, children can continue their medical treatment and enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes at night.
There are currently eight Sunrise Association Day Camps – three in New York (Long Island, Pearl River and Staten Island), three in Israel (Beit Yehoshuah, Be’er Sheva and Ramat Yochanan), Horizon Day Camp in Baltimore, Maryland, and Aurora Day Camp in Atlanta, Georgia.
Our camps are affiliated with 36 renowned hospitals and medical centers. Sunrise Sundays and Fun-days offer children exciting activities and events when school is not in session. Sunrise on Wheels is one-of-a-kind and provides hours of Sunrise-fun to children undergoing treatment in pediatric oncology units of participating hospitals.
How It All Began
The Sunrise Association Day Camps began as a “dream” of Arnie Preminger, Founder, President & CEO of the Sunrise Association. After attending a benefit concert for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (a sleep-away camp for children with life-threatening illness), the dream began. Having built and operated summer day camps for more than 30 years at the Friedberg JCC, Arnie researched the existence of summer-long day camps for children with cancer, but to his surprise, found none.
The Dream Becomes Reality
After intensive research and planning, the first Sunrise Day Camp was opened on Long Island in 2006. This became the first and only day camp in the world for children and their siblings, offered free of charge. Four renowned pediatric oncology facilities had signed on as affiliates, one million dollars had been raised, and the campgrounds prepared. That summer 96 children, including siblings, rediscovered the magic of friendship and the joy of play at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights – all free of charge. The sounds of medical monitors were replaced with laughter, and the feelings of cold machines and sharp needles quickly disappeared with warm hugs from counselors and new friends.
Unlike similar sleep-away camps that are offered for only 1-2 weeks, Sunrise allows children in active treatment to continue with their home doctors, while attending camp each day. This unique concept allows children the comfort of sleeping in their own beds each night – a comfort not only for the campers, but for their parents as well.
Parents have peace of mind when their children attend our camps and programs. All activities at camp are designed with special features to best accommodate chronically ill children, with medical personnel always available to provide expert care, if needed.