Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Project Sunshine - Camping Experiences for Kids in Need

When Al Marquis, a Las Vegas attorney, opened his ranch in a nearby community to the kids from Project Sunshine he didn't know what to expect. After three days of playing with the kids and watching them open up to him and the counselors, he didn't want them to go.

In a recent article for his local newspaper he said, "We wished we had a way to bring joy and love into these kids' lives every day, but there is no way for us to do that. So in the end we had no choice but to be content with three days."

Three fun filled days swimming, rock climbing, horseback riding, learning crafts. That's what Mr. Marquis helped Project Sunshine provide for children who've been abandoned or neglected. The youngsters are all clients of other social aid organizations. That's where Project Sunshine comes into play.

They are a non-profit organization designed to fill in the gaps. They partner with other groups and provide 3 day camping experiences cost free to the children. They arrived in late June on Mr. Marquis' ranch and put up rock climbing walls and set up archery ranges. They had porta-potties delivered and equipment to make the camp run smoothly.

On the first day the children were apprehensive and timid. They trembled and held back from petting the horses. When Mr. Marquis playfully grabbed a child's foot while swimming in the lake she pulled away and said, "I don't like to be touched." But it wasn't long before things began to turn around.

On the second day of camp the kids were familiar with the activities and seemed less apprehensive about being in the great outdoors. They splashed and played in the water. Even the young girl who'd been afraid to be touched was rough-housing in the water with the rest of the children and counselors.

The volunteers and staff of Project Sunshine have one great desire, to show these children a little love and joy, maybe help them to trust again in the goodness of people, especially adults, since they've been let down so often in their short lives.

In an emotional quote Mr. Marquis said of his experience with the kids of Project Sunshine, "Maybe those three days will make a difference. Maybe the kids will know love, trust, hope, and joy. However slim those chances are, it was all worth it - a hundred times over."

Project Sunshine is located in Las Vegas, NV. They are always looking for volunteers. This summer they planned and executed five camps designed for the specific needs of the campers, some with emotional issues, others with severe or life-threatening illnesses.

To contact them for donations or to volunteer go to http://www.projectsunshineofnv.com/

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This sounds great. Would have been a great thing for Derrick to have been a volunteer this summer. Thanks for all your hard work on your blogs. I love reading them!

Aunt Tina

Lisa McGlaun said...

Tina,
If I'd know about the opportunity before hand, I agree, it was a great opportunity for a teenager to step outside of himiself for a while and lend a helping hand.

Thanks and Love,
Lisa

Janece said...

Great project. Thanks! I'm off to check out their website.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Janece,

There are probably projects like this all over the country if this one is out of your reach.

Thanks for the comment,
Lisa