At Camp Sunburst, our acclaimed national model residential summer camp, HIV/AIDS children and their families enjoy the companionship of others without the social stigma and isolation associated with the AIDS epidemic.
While the camp population primarily served is children with HIV/AIDS, we recognize the tremendous impact of childhood illness on siblings and parents (many of whom are also ill); thus, program emphasis is placed on the family as a unit. In this supportive and therapeutically designed community, families are able to talk freely about living with AIDS, and openly express feelings in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
In the safe haven of Camp Sunburst, children can freely participate in a variety of camp activities including swimming, hiking, fishing, arts and crafts, sports and campfires. Camp provides a family strengthening environment, education, recreation, and emotional support. Our residential summer camp programs are 4 - 8 days long depending on the session, and all of our camps are free of charge.
Thanks to the generosity of The Taylor Family Foundation, a longtime supporter of Sunburst Projects, Camp Sunburst has been granted a permanent camp facility to use and call home, complete with cabins, dining hall, swimming pool, and bathhouses.
This permanent location, Camp Arroyo Environmental Education Center, is located 10 miles south of Livermore, California in the Del Valle Regional Park, providing easy access to all of the park's recreational activities and natural wonders.
Camp Sunburst Teen Camp
for HIV impacted teens 13-18 yrs.
Location: Grizzly Creek Ranch (just outside Portola, CA)
Mandatory Training — For all New Volunteers
Camp Sunburst Family Camp for HIV impacted children/pre-teens 6-12 yrs.
Location: Camp Arroyo, 5555 Arroyo Road, Livermore, CA 94550
Orientation: TBA @ Camp Arroyo, Livermore, CA
New Volunteer Orientation (Mandatory): TBA
Detailed Description of Camp Programs
At this week-long residential summer camp, HIV/AIDS infected children ages 6-11 are able to enjoy the companionship of others without the social stigma and isolation associated with the AIDS epidemic. In the safe haven of Camp Sunburst, children can freely participate in a variety of camp activities including swimming, hiking, fishing, arts and crafts, sports, and campfires. A 1:1 or 2:1 camper to counselor ratio is provided along with twenty-four hour medical care.
Thanks to new drug treatments, the first generation of infected children who were born with the virus is now living into adolescence. As these adolescents assume a normal interest in becoming independent and undergo the turmoil that occurs during this developmental stage, they also have to face their own mortality.
These youth grapple with questions like: "Am I a person with a disease, or does the disease define me?" Kids who have grown-up with AIDS now desperately want to separate from it as part of who they are. Unfortunately, for many teens this results in activity such as refusing to adhere to their drug treatments, smoking, drinking, and other risky behavior that can be life threatening to these young people.
Studies have shown that the odds for teens living with a life threatening illness for developing a diagnosable psychiatric disorder are more than 2 to 1. It is critical these youth receive emotional support to help them safely make the transition into emotionally healthy young adults.
Considerable time has been spent working on program design for the teen camp programs and future development of these programs includes directly involving these youth in assessing their special needs. At camp, teens participate in support groups (”Rap Groups”), empowerment and leadership training, and sexuality workshops facilitated by trained professionals.
Through these support groups and other therapeutic activities, teens are educated about topics including the importance of drug adherence, safer sex and risky behavior, self-identity, and a range of other topics that directly affect their lives.
The needs of siblings and other HIV affected children in the home are also addressed at Camp Sunburst. Not infected by HIV/AIDS, these children are virtually ignored by the medical community since they are not sick.
While the secrecy and isolation of HIV/AIDS pervades these youth's lives and distances their relationship with the outside world, uninfected children need support services that help them deal with these stresses.
Want to volunteer for camp and you need to complete a service learning or an internship requirement for your college or university degree? Consider a position with Camp Sunburst! If your school accepts Camp Sunburst as a site to participate in meeting your requirement, we are more than willing to assist you in doing such. The experience and skills you will learn will benefit many majors. Psychology, social work, sociology, counseling, medical degrees just to name a few.
Camp Sunburst has also provided a service learning position for students completing their general education in several community college programs. Please contact Cindi Rivas at Sunburst Projects if you’d like to learn more, contact .
Your staff took such good care of us that I felt like for a whole week I didn't have to take care of anyone else. Thank you!
We loved it! What a blessing for our family.
The staff was so helpful and a joy to be around. Thank you all for a wonderful week and for letting us participate.
It's amazing how total strangers become a light in a dark tunnel.
I want my kids to come back because that's all they talk about.
I feel that camp has helped my child mature.