CBA students volunteer at Camp Sunshine
Caitlin Donnelly 09/01/10
This summer, 22 rising seniors from CBA volunteered at Camp Sunshine under the supervision of their teacher, Vincent Horan, of Manlius. Located in Casco, Maine, the camp is designed to give children with life-threatening illnesses and their families a chance to relax and forget about their daily struggles for one full week free of charge.
Horan has been volunteering at the camp with his wife, Irene, a pediatric hematologist/ oncologist at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and his sons Ryan, Conor, Neil and Quinn since 2001. In 2005, he began taking groups of student volunteers along as well. While the school allows Horan to use the school van for transportation, it is not considered a school field trip since it is during the summer months.
“I like to think of it as taking the students with me on our family vacation each year,” said Horan.
Horan brought the first group of students up July 5 to 10 during Brain Tumor Week. The student volunteers included Brian Anderson, of Syracuse; Jen Battaglia, of North Syracuse; Laura Bulman, of Liverpool; Destiny Cerlanek, of East Syracuse; Tyler Hamblin, of Syracuse; Alexis Koval, of Syracuse; Vin Russo, of Syracuse; Ruthie Speidel, of Manlius; Greg Thomson, of Skaneateles; and Joe Vercillo, of Syracuse.
Just last week, another group of students traveled to Camp Sunshine to volunteer August 22 to 26 during Oncology Week. Volunteers included Dave Anderson, of Baldwinsville; Celeste Craig, of DeWitt; Betty Etheredge, of Solvay; Laena Frechette, of Manlius; Corinne Gavigan, of Syracuse; Nate Goebel, of Minoa; Sarah Kitts, of East Syracuse; Joe Marzocchi, of Syracuse; Brendan McIntyre, of Fayetteville; Samantha Peltz, of Skaneateles; Joe Pietrafesa, of Syracuse; and Natalie Sportelli, of Jamesville.
CBA students that volunteer at Camp Sunshine must be selected, explained Horan. Interested students must sign up with Horan at the beginning of their junior year, and he choses those that are friendly, personable, and willing to play and have fun immediately, without worrying about looking silly. There are usually twice as many signed up than are able to travel to Maine.
“You can’t bring just anyone to the camp because it is a special group of people that the volunteers work with,” said Horan. “Volunteers must make a point of sitting with the families, making them feel comfortable and knocking down the barriers. Once the kids are having fun, the parents can finally start to relax as well,” he said.
Room and board are provided for volunteers in the camp bunks along Sebago Lake. Students only have to pay for gas money to the camp and a $25 donation to the camp. Once at the camp, volunteers are broken up into different groups catering to specific needs, including life guarding, kitchen staff, nursery, toddlers, 5- to 8-year-olds, 9- to 12-year-olds, teens and parents.
Horan described the volunteer opportunity at Camp Sunshine as a life changing experience for everyone.
“To give freely and help for helping’s sake and seeing how good it makes them feel is an amazing process that the kids talk about all year long once they’re back in school,” he said. “Camp Sunshine is an amazing place, and we’re lucky they keep letting our CBA volunteers back year after year.”
For more information on Camp Sunshine visit campsunshine.org.
CATEGORY: Charity & Activism
TAGS: CBA, Christian Brothers Academy, Camp Sunshine, Vin Horan, volunteer
EDITION: Eagle Bulletin