The Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester today announced that it has partnered with the Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC to launch Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River as soon as this summer. It will be modeled on the original Sunrise Day Camp in Wheatley Heights on Long Island, which was founded in 2006 by the Friedberg JCC as the only dedicated day camp in the nation for children with cancer and their siblings. By 2012, more than 500 children were enrolled. In 2010, the model was expanded with Sunrise Day Camp Israel, which launched with 125 children. Located in Even Yehuda, Israel (near Netanya), it is affiliated with the top five pediatric medical centers in the country. The new location at Pearl River, NY, will offer children with cancer in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester County, Southern Connecticut and Northern New Jersey summers filled with fun, friendships, and activities. All three Sunrise Day Camps are free of charge.
“Children with cancer are often isolated from the normal activities of childhood. Rarely do they have a chance to see beyond the closed worlds of home, hospital, and doctors’ offices,” said Arnie Preminger, President and CEO of the Friedberg JCC. “Sunrise Day Camp opens the door to a new world by making it possible for campers to enjoy a summer filled with exciting activities daily, enduring friendships and joyful experiences, while paying careful attention to their special medical and emotional needs.”
Like the original camp in Long Island, the Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River will be open on a non-sectarian basis to all children ages 3 1/2 to 16 years who are coping with any type of cancer at any stage, provided their doctors clear them to participate. Siblings are also welcome to attend. In addition to specially trained counselors, specialists, and assistants, the camp will be staffed by on-site pediatric oncology nurses and supported by volunteer pediatric oncology doctors from area hospitals.
In advance of the launch of Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River, the Rosenthal and Friedberg JCCs have developed affiliations with some of the most renowned hospitals and medical centers in the service area in the field of pediatric oncology, including Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and St. Barnabas Medical Cente
"We at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center are honored to be an affiliate of the new Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River," said Jarrett Stern, Vice President, Perioperative and Orthopedics Services at Westchester Medical Center. "We look forward to being a part of the camp's Advisory Board and also to providing voluntary health care services while camp is in session. This will also be a wonderful opportunity for our doctors to see their patients outside of the hospital environment – singing songs, playing games, and just being kids."
Final planning is underway to establish the new Sunrise Day Camp at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Pearl River, NY. Sitting on 95 acres of lush woods, the campgrounds boast grassy hills, open meadows, beautiful woods, a sparkling lake and a winding stream near the New York-New Jersey border not far from the Tappan Zee Bridge. Facilities at the campgrounds include multiple sports fields and swimming pools, plus an amphitheater.
"After many years of working successfully with the Friedberg JCC on Long Island, we are very excited to expand our partnership to include the Rosenthal JCC and help bring the magic of Sunrise Day Camp to children with cancer in the northern communities," said Lenny M. Silberman, CEO at Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds.
Thanks to a generous donation, the Rosenthal and Friedberg JCCs will convert an existing facility into the Billie and George Ross Cooler. This facility will serve as a “cooling center” where children can come inside from the heat to rest, as well as an indoor facility for hot day or rainy day activities. It will also house a Wellness Center, where the usual bumps and bruises can be given extra attention, and where campers’ medical status can be professionally monitored.
“We recognize that we live in an imperfect world, a world where unfortunately, children do suffer from cancer. Until we find a cure for cancer, we hope that Sunrise Day Camp will be there to help,” said George Ross. “These camps help heal young hearts and mend young souls through the injustice of physical illness.”
Recognizing the extraordinary financial demands that a child’s chronic illness can have on a family, Sunrise Day Camp is offered free of charge. The generosity of others, mostly private donations, have offset the costs of running the camp in Long Island and are expected to do so at Pearl River, as well. Sunrise Day Camp has also received some support from government grants and UJA-Federation of New York.
In order to make this summer a reality for children with cancer in the summer of 2013, the Rosenthal and Friedberg JCCs must raise at least $300,000 in the next few months.
“The Rosenthal JCC has operated summer day camps for children for more than 30 years,” said Ellie Aronowitz, Executive Director of the Rosenthal JCC. “We are humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lend our expertise to create an outstanding camp that offers joy and healing power to hundreds of children whose lives have been impacted by cancer.”
ABOUT THE ROSENTHAL JCC
The Rosenthal JCC is a place of belonging, caring and sharing – inspiring vibrant Jewish and community spirit, nurturing individual potential, respecting diversity and celebrating life. Across Northern Westchester, our exceptional social, recreational, educational and cultural programs and services promote experiential learning, teamwork, artistic and intellectual exploration, the love of Jewish tradition and Israel, and pure fun – while building enduring friendships and support networks. Programs include early childhood, summer camps, after-school programs, sport leagues, cultural events, Jewish learning opportunities, and services for special needs. The Rosenthal JCC is a proud beneficiary agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.
ABOUT THE FRIEDBERG JCC
The Friedberg JCC is the very pulse of Long Island's South Shore Jewish community. It is an all encompassing facility, dedicated to providing and maintaining the spirit of Judaism and its values through the strengthening of Jewish family life and culture. The Friedberg JCC has been serving Long Island's south shore community for over 50 years and provides social and educational programs, plus vitally needed services for individuals of all ages. It is where friends, neighbors and family come together to discover their Jewish identity, be themselves and just have fun. Located in Oceanside, New York, with centers in both Merrick and Long Beach, the JCC operates programs for new mothers/new babies, day care, nursery school, after school activities, summer camps, teen programs, adult activities, special needs programs, holiday events and cultural activities for all. These extensive and varied programs are reflective of the JCC's compelling mission to create a dynamic, caring community that helps families, youth, the elderly and the disabled at all economic levels.
ABOUT THE HENRY KAUFMANN CAMPGROUNDS
The Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, an affiliate of UJA-Federation of New York, has been providing grounds and facilities to local Jewish Community Centers and YM-YWHAs throughout Metropolitan New York for 60 years. Established in 1952 and comprised of three locations, HKC serves more than 6000. For more information about the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds visit our website at www.camphkc.org.