Suntown Camp brings back more face-to-face magic

The performers at the Suntown Camp gala night on Saturday.*Millie Kilayko photo

The face-to-face Suntown Camp magic is back after a two-year lull brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers and leaders of the Suntown Camp, which brings together children who are ill with cancer or are diagnosed with other debilitating illnesses, were in full circus costumes as they staged a magical show for the campers during their gala night at the CICM Mission Center-Maryshore in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, Saturday, July 30.

There were 24 campers, 10 of whom were first timers, who joined the “Suntown Camp 16: Shining Bright” from July 27 to 31, its Executive Director Ana Pison said.

“We were in a bubble camp and we all had RT-PCR tests,” she said.

The camp allows the children to understand and accept their situation, express their feelings and see that they are not alone in their struggles. They spend time together with children sharing a similar journey, in a fun, healthy and loving atmosphere.

At the camp they make new friends and discover new interests within a community of caring adults who provide them needed attention to boost their self-esteem.

The Suntown Camp Foundation also organizes support group activities that have become the kids’ life companion as they face their difficult journey in the future.

The participants of the the Suntown Camp gala night at the CICM Mission Center-Maryshore in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.* Millie Kilayko photos

Although face-to-face camps were postponed because of the pandemic, that did not stop them from holding them virtually, Pison said.

They held virtual “Camp 14: Beneath the Same Sky” and “Camp 15: Building Dreams”  to make sure their foundation continued its vision and dream.

The theme of Camp 16’s gala night that was finally held face-to-face on   Saturday was “The Greatest Show”.

“This gala night was a reminder of the magic Suntown Camp Foundation has given to the volunteers, leaders, staff, and most especially our campers. Laughter, magic, and love are three words to describe this year’s gala night,” Pison said.

“The 2-year hiatus from face-to-face camps made everyone feel a wave of nostalgia as we were able to gather in once place as one foundation after a long time. Our volunteers made sure to dress the part to give our circus themed gala night an authentic feel,” she added.

 The staff and leaders, together with the technical team led by Maiian Delos Reyes, Micah Cornejo, and Monrie Javier put up a show-stopping extravaganza for the campers, she said.

One camper, Joanna, said that she was feeling lost weeks prior to the camp and she wanted to discover more of herself. She said because of the activities led by the leaders during camp, she was able to reflect and reignite her passions like dancing.

Because of the comeback of face-to-face camps, she was able to find her old self and gained more confidence along the way, she said.

Camp directors were Vince Ian Cañete and Angie Diaz, and  the staff were Rienzi Encarnacion, Noemi Eraldo, Monrie Javier, Maiian Delos Reyes, Micah Cornejo, Remus Abella and Sofia Ordoñez.

 Leaders were Angeline and Arcelle Braganza, Mitzi Encarnacion, Ian Dominguez, Deanne and Eve Ariola, Jabez Caban, JC Cababan, Ren Gallaza, Jamee Alojado, Zoe Martinez, Ion Cañete and Janica Pabon.*

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