From the beginning, Dan and Caren Mahar also had the dream of creating a year-round "night camp" to offer sun sensitive children and their families a way to meet other folks sharing similar problems, creating similar solutions and to enjoy a "camp" experience like their peers - just on a different time clock . . . a dream come true! Camp Sundown began in 1996 as an XP family retreat in Poughkeepsie, NY. In 2003, thanks to many generous donors, we were able to open our own Camp Sundown Retreat House in Craryville, NY.
Camp Sundown is the single most important project of the XP Society which directly benefits and involves the XP family and patients. This unique to the world night camp program gathers families and scientists from around the globe to share support, recreation, information and friendship under the safety of the stars. An XP family retreat and medical conference combined helps the XP family feel less isolated in their situation, providing useful support and education to live our daily lives with XP.
We welcome XP families and individuals with related conditions from the world over to experience the magical time of Camp Sundown. Here the children enjoy the world that was created for all of us. Camp Sundown is provided at no cost due to generous donations of volunteer time, talents, food and monetary gifts.
Camp Sundown 2010... The 15th Year!
These three weeks of Camp Sundown have been such an exciting whirlwind it is hard to sum up the immense feelings of the month. It has been one of the best years ever and we have had so much fun meeting new friends, rekindling old friendships and gaining new faith that someday things will be “OK”. We cannot even begin to say thank you to all those who provided time and talent, food and supplies, monetary donations to make this magic happen for 32 families.
Camp opened its eyes after a winter rest, thanks to the help of Columbia County Girl Scouts who have helped in landscaping and gardening, raking and preparing the campfire area, rearranging and cleaning the computer and conference rooms and installing solar lights for our campers to find their way safely at night. Thank you Girls!
Camp Sundown 2010 began with a celebration kickoff dinner provided by our longtime friends at the Patterson Rotary Club. Our evening was enhanced by the world reknown expert in Birds of Prey , Jonathan Wood, who with his lovely family, taught us fascinating facts about the wild birds he rescues and rehabilitates. The documentary crew continued their two year project of Camp Sundown in the Dark Side of The Sun and campers enjoyed the antics of Bubba and the Camp Sundown Clowns .
We enjoyed a wonderful workshop with the youth of the MacHayden Theatre, visited the Davenport Dairy Farm complete with icecream party, challenged ourselves at the outdoor adventure course at Columbia Greene Community College, expanded our horizons at the Bob Crimi Art Show and many experienced their first time bowling at Chatham's Cosmic Bowl. Not a year goes by without our annual trip to the Campbell Hall Fire Department's carnival set up just for us! Daytimes included art with Angie each week, T-shirt making with Danielle, and other fun crafts with our spirited volunteer counselors. The Camp Sundown Clowns continued to engage us in fun each week and donated our wonderful t-shirts again this year. We joined Scuba Joe and Jim Quinn for a hands-on, in the pool scuba lesson and had a delightful presentation by NY Times Best selling author Jerome Preisler and his lovely wife Suzanne. Campers went home with their own copy of their "Dirty Deeds" novel, written by both in the pen name of Suzanne Price. The nights ended in song and campfires mastered by Brad and while no one caught a bullfrog, we learned glowing frisbee and KanJam on the front lawn. Don't forget the nightly midnight swim!
Every camper was checked thoroughly by our expert dermatology group under Dr. Gregory's supervision between field trips and luscious meals . Our families bonded easily through common concerns and shared support.
Special thanks to all those who went the extra distance this year to make Camp Sundown a reality!
Camp Sundown 2009
Camp Sundown has finished its fourteenth year of summer!
Under the full July moon, Camp Sundown 2009 began with a bang! We are having a lot of fun with fire flies and firehoses, learning the maranga, visiting goats and sheep and a medieval maker, carnivals and icecream shops, Swimming on the Twelves (midnight and noon each day) including lessons for the younger ones and the funny watermelon toss, soccer, volleyball and horseback riding. We gt to sit on and be awed by antique and newer racing bikes and cars in a private museum. Along with being in a documentary about XP, our campers filmed, edited and produced their own documentaries they aired for all. Our clowns entertained, Moonlite bringing in new friends, teaching new skills in fun and games and our doctors shared insight into nutrition assistance as well as providing vital skin checks for all campers. Our caring derm team demonstrated mineral makeup from Color Science, showing us how to put our best face forward.Camp fires ended our evenings with s'mores and song and games by Aric. Each session ended with a wonderful show of talent as we "Showcased Our Stars". Campers made backpacks and lighthouses, birdhouses and created artful cubes and t-shirts with Angie and howled with the owls and coyotes under the beautiful night stars.We ended the summer session with a trip to Yankee Stadium where campers and their families were treated like royalty for an evening watching the game from a private suite, going centerfield with the players for fun, games, wonderful food and generous gifts. Our October Camp Session saw carving of pumpkins and costume making, we created beautiful painted wooden boxes to give as gifts and decorated cookies. Our Harvest party included traditional games like apple dunking and worms and eye ball search. Thank you to all the incredible volunteers, donors and sponsors that gave Camp Sundown and 41 XP families another successful year! Photos courtesy of Bryce Stone.
CAMP SUNDOWN 2008:
Camp Sundown 2008 was held for six sessions last summer including a special session for the third year in a row just for teens and a special October Harvest Moon camp. We enjoyed horseback riding and swimming, arts and crafts and Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and carnivals, softball and volleyball games, campfires and clowns, makeup artistry and animal visits and many trips out.We were taught dance and scuba diving,CPR and first aid, cookie baking and pumpkin carving. We admired art and firetrucks. Thank you to our many donors, sponsors and volunteers for another perfect year! The First World Congress on XP, an XP family retreat and medical conference rolled in one, was held in Poughkeepsie NY at the Grand hotel where all families heard and learned from many experts on XP and related topics from genetics to ultraviolet, DNA repair to prevention and treatment, legal issues and ways to advocate for your own child. Stay tuned for the Second World Congress on XP in September 2009!
Camp Sundown 2007
Camp Sundown is a unique to the world night camp program , an XP family retreat and medical conference rolled in one. Camp Sundown ran six sessions last year through the summer and in October, including a special Counselor-in-Training session, a select TEEN week, a week for new families to meet and a week for returning families to rekindle friendships.60 families, over 245 people, benefited from this year's program. Camp is open free of charge to XP families and families of children with other light sensitivity disorders. Special thanks to all our donors of time, talent and monetary and food gifts that helped make this year a huge success for XP families.
For $350, any individual or organization can "sponsor a camper."
That amount helps offset the cost of food, utilities, activities, insurance and transportation for one camper's unique experience at a full session.