Camp Sundown a Shining Light
By Eugenia Moskowitz
Campbell Hall’s Otterkill FD put on its 23rd annual one-night XP Camp Sundown the evening of July 12 and ending at sunrise the next morning. Attendees were children who suffer from Xeroderma Pigmentosa, a severe genetic disorder which causes extreme sunburn and its associated highly increased cancer risks when childrens’ skin and eyes are exposed to even mild sunlight.
Those with the condition cannot go into sunlight even for a moment. Schooling and all activities normally done in daylight must be moved indoors with curtains drawn or into the nighttime hours, posing severe logistical, socio-psychological, and financial challenges for families.
Head organizer Joseph Volkmer gathers Otterkill fire company members, townspeople, and many others to make the night possible for the children and their families, who attend a special XP summer camp in Craryville, NY, and come down by bus for this special excursion. They enjoyed food, fun, music, sports, crafts, stepping inside a real LifeNet helicopter, and checking out a fleet of motorcycles, including a souped-up Spider Man e-z rider. Last year the children enjoyed a hot air balloon demonstration.
Camp Sundown was started in Craryville in 1995 by one family in their quest to help their daughter lead a more typical life, and has been growing ever since. Please go to http://www.xps.org to learn more. Donations towards next year’s event by the Otterkill FD can be made by contacting the fire department in Campbell Hall directly. Volunteers are always welcome in organizing and running the one-night camp.
CAPTION 1: The campers got to step into a real LifeNet helicopter. (Photos provided)
CAPTION 2: Checking out the beautiful motorcycles while wearing a crafted flower halo.
CAPTION 3: Face painting and fun under the big pavilion.