Frequently Asked Questions
If you are wondering about camp schedules, costs, packing lists, dates, and locations, please see our camper page for more information.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Camper applications are accepted January 3 through April 8, 2024. All applications are submitted online via CampDoc. For registration tips, click HERE. Campers will need to provide three references.
Counselor applications are accepted January 3 through April 8, 2024. The deadline may be extended if there is still a need past April 8. New applicants will need to submit 3 references. Returning counselors who apply and fully complete their application before February 1 will receive a surprise as part of our “Loyal-T” program. Here's a link to the reference form for volunteer counselors.
Q: Who can attend?
A: Camp Sunshine is a camp for individuals with cognitive/developmental disabilities. At Camp Sunshine it’s a value of ours to be sure we can provide adequate care for our campers. Please be aware that our counselors are volunteers. Because of this, we do not accept campers who have injectable medications, use a feeding tube, experience frequent incontinence, experience uncontrolled frequent seizures or have behaviors that harm themselves or others.
Our campers tend to be adults between 18-60. Counselors must be over the age of 16.
Q: As a parent/guardian, what can I expect at check in?
A: Parents/guardians will check in with staff and then drop off medications to our licensed medical professionals. Campers will then meet their counselors and will begin their camp experience by first transporting their luggage to the cabin together. Parents and guardians will be asked to say their goodbyes at this time. Our Camp Store is open at check in for parents/guardians to browse as well!
Q: As a parent/guardian, what can I expect at check out?
A: Parents/guardians who were authorized in the application process will check out their camper on the fourth and final day of camp. All parents/guardians must check out with the licensed medical professionals and Camp Sunshine staff. Campers are not allowed to leave after the talent show on the third day because of the importance of both campers and counselors finishing the camp experience together on the fourth day.
Q: Is there a day-camp only opportunity for campers at Camp Sunshine?
For most campers, Camp Sunshine is an overnight camp experience. However, based on level of care and previous camp experiences, our team considers the day-camp role for applicants that might benefit from participating in camp in this manner. Campers who participate in day camp must attend all four days of camp and be transported to/from camp by caregivers. Day campers will have a bed where they can keep their belongings needed and to use for rest time. Please be sure to bring a swimsuit, towel, twin bed sheet & pillow and an extra set of clothes.
Counselors who are paired with a day camper will always stay the night and provide additional support for their cabin mates.
Q: What if the session I want is full?
A: If the session you would like to attend is full, you are welcome to register for our wait list. In the meantime, we invite you to check out our other program offerings HERE.
Q: Where is Camp Sunshine located?
A: Our office is located on the north side of Holland (291 W. Lakewood, BLVD, Suite G, Holland, MI 49424.) Our overnight camping experiences is hosted by our facility partners (Camp Henry and Camp Blodgett) in Michigan. We currently offer two sessions at each location. Camp Blodgett is located off the shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan in West Olive which is north of Holland about 15 minutes. Camp Henry is located in Newaygo Michigan and is located near a breathtaking view of Lake Kimball.
Q: Who leads camp? How are they screened?
A: Our camps are staffed in three capacities: our year-round staff, volunteer leadership team and volunteer counselors.
To learn more about our year round staff, click here.
Our leadership team is a group of professionals with wide ranges of experience. Each camp is supported by a minimum of four licensed nursing or medical professionals.
Our counselors are typically high school and college-aged, however applications are open to anyone interested and passionate about the mission of Camp Sunshine above the age of 16.
All volunteers receive a comprehensive background check and undergo a thorough application process including three reference checks and a mandatory training prior to serving at camp.
Q: What if I need to take medication while at camp?
A: For campers, all medications, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins/supplememnts, are kept in a secure location with our licensed medical professionals. Participants will have access to these medications at each meal time. If a specific time outside of mealtimes is required, this can be established with our medical team professionals. Participants are responsible for picking up their medications before leaving camp during checkout. Medications that are left behind will be properly disposed of within 48 hours of the conclusion of the camp session.
For counselors, we require you to keep your medications in a secure location with our licensed medical professionals for the safety of our camp community. However, the med team does not monitor or dispense your medications to you. Medications will be available at meal and bedtimes or as needed.
Q: What is the food like? What if I have food allergies or dietary restrictions?
A: We serve three meals a day, along with an afternoon and evening snack. Outside food is not allowed to be brought into the cabins.
Information you noted on your application is communicated to the kitchen and medical staff. Based on that information, there will be alternatives provided at each meal to meet dietary needs. If you have a special circumstance you’d like to discuss, please contact the office.
Q: Who do I contact in the case of an emergency during camp sessions?
A: In the case of an emergency or if you are in need to contact Camp Sunshine during a session call 616-994-9897.
Q: What are the sleeping arrangements?
While the cabin setup varies between camp locations, we typically have 4-6 campers/counselor pairs in each single-gender cabin. Each cabin is equipped with electricity and a bathroom. Counselors and volunteer leadership are readily available at all times.
Q: I am currently on the waitlist or I am unable to commit to volunteering at Camp Sunshine this summer for the full session. Is there another way to get involved with the Camp Sunshine community?
A: Yes! Check out our other programming and events options here. We also invite you to experience a day-volunteer experience. Check out our day volunteer information page here.
Q: What safety measures are being put in place as it relates to COVID-19?
A: Camp Sunshine is continuously monitoring the pandemic and policies are subject to change. As we approach camp, we will determine needed protocols. As a reminder, these were our 2023 guidelines.
Q: What is the “Horseback Riding Form” and who completes it?
A: At our Camp Henry location, part of our programming is the offering of horseback riding. A “Rider Medical Form” must be completed in order for individuals to participate. Please take this form and ask your doctor to complete and provide a signature. Once you have this completed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to the office (291 W. Lakewood Blvd. #7, Holland, MI 49424.)
Q: What if I can’t attend the session I signed up for anymore?
A: Please call us at 616-994-9897 or email email@example.com as SOON as you become aware. Pairing, housing & our waitlist is vital to our planning as camp approaches. For campers, please see our Refund Policy.
Q: Can counselors earn college or high school credit for their time at camp?
A: Yes! In previous years we have collaborated with Hope College’s education program, Baker College nursing program, Grand Valley State University’s Physical and Occupational Therapy programs, Western Michigan’s sports management program, and Holland Christian volunteer program amongst others. If you think your college or high school might be interested in collaborating with a credit-program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How can I get someone to come talk to my school/organization about Camp Sunshine?
A: We would love the opportunity to come and connect with a school, group or organization that might be interested in volunteering at Camp Sunshine. Send us an email at email@example.com.