Frequently Asked Questions
What is Camp Sunshine?
Camp Sunshine is a summer camp for individuals ages 12 to 50 with mild to moderate cognitive impairments. We offer four-day, three-night camp sessions at two locations in Michigan --Camp Blodgett in West Olive and Camp Henry in Newaygo.
Each camper is paired with a volunteer counselor for the entire camp session. This individual attention affords all campers the opportunity to participate in many activities that may not be available in their home settings.
Each year features a different theme. Food, activities, creative expressions, spiritual lessons, music, and recreation are all based on the theme. Music plays a prominent role at camp, with campers singing every morning, after lunch and every evening. Whether it is singing during during the sunset, acting during morning lessons, playing games, creating crafts, or taking center stage at the talent show, everyone is valued and loved for who they are at Camp Sunshine.
To see a video about camp, please click
How do I apply?
Applications open in November for returning campers and January for new camper applicants of each year. All applications are submitted online via Camp Doc.
If you need assistance completing your application, please email
email@example.com to set up a time for phone call assistance.
For Camp Doc registration tips, click
What if the session I want to attend is full?
If the session you would like to register for is full, you may register for our wait list. It is not common that spots open up, however, we will keep you information on file should an opening arise, in addition to being on our mailing list for registration next year.
Is Camp Sunshine a day-camp or an overnight camping experience?
Camp Sunshine is an overnight camp experience. However, based on level of care needed and previous camp experiences, our team considers the day-camper role for applicants that might benefit from transitioning into camp in this manner.
Day campers will have a bed where they can keep their belongings needed for the day. Please be sure to bring a swimsuit, towel, twin bed sheet & pillow (for rest time) and an extra set of clothes.
How long is a camp session?
Four days and three nights, with the fourth day concluding by noon. Check in on the first day is between 9-10am and check out is on the 4th day between 11am-12pm.
Where does Camp Sunshine take place?
Camp Sunshine has partnerships with two facilities in Michigan: Camp Blodgett and Camp Henry. 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 settled upon a breathtaking view of Lake Kimball.
What should I pack for camp?
We have a list posted on our website in the camper resource section. Check this out here.
What time do I check-in to camp?
Registration for check-in begins at 9am on the first day of the session as listed on your acceptance letter. If you are a day-camper, please check out details for daily drop off information here.
What time does check-out begin?
Check out begins at 11AM on the last day of the session as listed on your acceptance letter. If you are a day-camper, please see the details for daily pick up information
What is the "Horseback Riding Form" and who completes it?
Only 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 (430 E. 8th Street, PO BOX 200, Holland, MI 49423) it to the office.
What if I have special dietary needs?
Information you noted on each application is communicated to the kitchen staff and our nurse team. Based on that information, there will be alternatives provided at each meal and snack. If you have a special circumstance you’d like to discuss, please contact the office.
A sample menu is posted under the ‘camper’ tab on our website in the resource center. Check it out!
Who do I contact in case of an emergency during camp sessions?
In the case of an emergency or if you are in need to contact Camp Sunshine during a session please call (616) 422-4763.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
While the cabin setup varies between camp locations, we typically have 7-10 campers in each single-gender cabin. Each camper-counselor pair sleep in cabins with campers sleeping on the bottom bunk while their counselor sleeps on the top bunk. Each cabin is equipped with electricity and a bathroom. Campers are never left unsupervised.
What's the food like?
We serve three nutritious meals a day, along with an afternoon and evening snack. Our menus vary from year to year but may include things like, pizza, sandwiches and salad, or burgers all with sides of vegetables or fruit. Breakfasts can include sausage, pancakes, cereal, eggs, yogurt bar, etc. See a sample menu here. We will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs. Please be sure to note your dietary restrictions are listed on the application.
Who leads the camp? How are they screened?
Our camps are staffed in three capacities: our year round part-time staff, volunteer leadership team, and volunteer counselors.
Our year round consists of an executive director, two program directors, a director of operations, a communications and marketing coordinator, recruiter, and special events manager. To learn more about our year round staff, click
Our leadership team consists of approximately 40 volunteers per session who come from a wide range of experiences and professions. Each camp is supported by a minimum of four nursing professionals.
Our counselors are typically high school and college-aged students, 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, three reference check, and a 3.5 hour training prior to camp.
Will someone be at camp to issue my child's medication?
Yes, a minimum of four licensed camp nurses will be on site at all times to issue all medications, and care for any injuries or sickness.
What is the staff ratio at camp?
Each camper is paired 1:1 with a counselor. Based on the level of care required, campers may be paired with two counselors. In addition to this 1:1 ratio is the support of 40+ people on our leadership team.
Is Camp Sunshine a faith-based camp?
A “faith-based” camp has affiliation with a particular church and/or may teach a particular religious perspective. While Camp Sunshine’s roots are in the Reformed Christian tradition and has many campers, staff, and volunteers who resonate with that tradition, it has not been a camp that teaches an exclusive belief system.
Camp Sunshine does not impose nor does it oppose any one faith tradition. It is a camp independent of any religious institution, yet values spirituality as foundational to our community life. We value a spirit of sacred holiness in each person and strive to instill that sacred spirit in our relationships. In its inclusive nature to offer physical, social, emotional, and spiritual growth, Camp Sunshine continues to grow broader in wisdom lessons from many traditions.
Camp Sunshine is about "following the WAY of goodness and grace, of peace and justice, of care for earth and all her creatures - these are the WAYS of Jesus, MLK, Gandhi, Buddha, and our Indigenous Elders. More than a belief system this is a way of living together.” We follow the lead of our campers beliefs, needs, and values. That means we sometimes sing “Jesus loves Me” or “God is so Good" at a camper’s request. We may share a greeting of “Namaste” or offer a prayer to the Great Spirit. We share our lessons and reflections from many spiritual traditions as they speak love, respect, and acceptance for our Sunshine community.
Can campers attend Camp Sunshine for more than one session per year?
No, campers can only attend one session per year as we strive to allow many individuals to experience Camp Sunshine. Each year we have a waitlist for all sessions.
My child cannot attend camp or is not ready at this time. Is there another way for them to be involved with the Camp Sunshine community?
Yes! We invite you to join us at our annual Run for the Sun 5K and 1 Mile Walk/Run event which takes place each July. To learn more click here.
We also invite you to attend our annual Talent Shows which occur on the 3rd night of each camp session. Our shows at our Camp Blodgett location (10451 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460) begin at 6:30pm and at our Camp Henry location (5575 Gordon AVE, Newaygo, MI 49337) at 7pm.
What are other parents/guardians saying about Camp Sunshine?
Check out this video