Camper Rosmonique Bonds receiving his dance trophy from JA member Leigh Ann Creel
Camp Sunshine 2008 at Percy Quin State Park July 9-13 was a great success! Grease was this year’s theme for the five-day camp for mentally and physically handicapped children and adults. Some of the theme-related highlights this year were a “drive-in movie” held on the park’s activity field, a dance-off contest with trophies awarded, and a special performance of songs from the movie Grease by guest musicians.
Each year Janet Stewart’s Girl Scouts lead activities on Wednesday, the opening day of camp. This year’s activities were called Rockin’ Races, Greased Lightnin’ Games, Bebop Make and Take, Nifty Nature, and Big Blue Bathtub (swimming)! On Wednesday afternoon, Beth Hemeter of Image Maker Photography came out and made a group picture of all the campers and counselors. She climbed to the top of the pavilion to get everyone in the shot! On Wednesday evening the Parklane Players performed scenes from Grease. The actors were Taylor Stringer as "Danny" and Kelly Bonner as "Sandy"; Morgan Middleton, Erica Lewis, Mary Elizabeth Stringer, and Sarah Loper as "The Pink Ladies"; and Josh King, Frankie Castello, Seth Caras, and Hunter Caras as the "T-Birds."
Camper LaDonovan Nelson enjoys the water slide, with Counselor Jeremy Turner (left).
Friday evening the participants rode McComb School District busses to dinner at Southwest MS Regional Medical Center and then went bowling at the McComb Bowling Center. Special devices were used so that campers in wheelchairs were able to bowl, also.
On Saturday morning the Olympic Games were held on the activities field. Relays such as bubble-gum blowing and “water balloon-sit on-and pop” contests were precursors to the ever-popular counselors’ egg toss/shaving cream fight! The Sunny Hill Volunteer Fire Department hosed off the counselors after this event! The Knights of Columbus assisted all day with the fishing rodeo and preparing balloons for the relay. Also assisting with the fishing rodeo were Kade Boone, William Hightower, and Zack McDaniel. Saturday evening Erin Alford as "Sandy" and Jonathan Watts as "Danny" sang several tunes from Grease after “Sandy” roared onto the stage escorted on a motorcycle! The rest of the evening was filled with group skits and camper stage acts.
On Sunday morning during the church service in the pavilion Miss Mattie of the McComb Public Library played her autoharp and sang songs, and Ian McAnally, interim student minister at First Baptist Church of McComb, delivered the sermon. Campers took up a “nature offering” in the spirit of giving back to God a portion of the great things He has given us.
Camp Sunshine, begun in 1976 with about fifteen campers, has grown into a huge operation with eighty campers and over 100 teenaged counselors, in addition to about a dozen college-aged experienced leaders. The McComb Junior Auxiliary sponsors the event, and JA members are responsible for running the five major events (dance, swimming, arts and crafts, nature, and recreation), in addition to arranging nighttime entertainment, meals, counselor snacks, canteen, fabulous decorations, goody bags and buttons, laundry, and so much more. The cafeteria staff at Percy Quin cooked breakfast and lunch each day. In addition, several businesses donated food on various days. U.S. Food Group provided the sausage and pork which John Devine of Devine’s Bar-B-Que, US Food Group’s Jason Mercier, and others spent all day slow cooking on site. Rick and Bente’ Johnson fried fish for everyone, and Jerry and Jeanine Stogner supplied the French fries and other sides. Pike Construction and Cox Architecture provided desserts, and Buffalo Services donated TCBY treats for Coke floats!
Campers Robert Britt (left) and Kayla Stinson love Camp Sunshine!
Becky Morgan is the long-time camp director, and this year’s JA Coordinator was Denise Webb. This year’s Assistant JA Coordinator, Becky Moak, will be the 2009 Coordinator. Diedre Reynolds and Heidi Hart were the Camp Nurses. JA Life Member Flo Boyd was the Swimming Director, and Janet Stewart and JA Life Member Betsy Enochs assisted at the pool. Boyd received an award from the campers, counselors, and staff for her 30 years of hard work and dedicated service as Camp Sunshine’s Swimming Director. JA Life Member Betsy Murrell was actively involved in nearly every aspect of camp, and received a Volunteer of the Year award from The Tri County Arc. Stewart’s Girl Scouts not only planned and ran Wednesday’s events, they also helped throughout the week at all the activities, and even wrote letters to each camper so that everyone would receive mail during the week!
Many pictures from both this year’s and last year’s Camp Sunshine, as well as "The Best of Camp, 2002-2006," can be viewed online at www.photoworks.com/members/tmorgan100. (Click on "View all" to see albums not pictured on the first page. Note: Photos can be viewed as a slide show, but in full-screen mode descriptions which may be under some of the photos are not visible--you may need to scroll down to read the descriptions.)
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