Arizona Camp Sunrise, the first camp in Arizona for children with cancer, began in 1983. There were 23 cancer patients and 8 staff, and it was held in a pasture in the White Mountains. Everyone slept in tents and pitched in with the cooking. In 1985, the camp moved to the R-C Scout Ranch, Northeast of Payson. And thanks to the generous donations and contributions of many Arizonans, the facilities now include seven sleeper cabins, a fully equipped dining hall and kitchen, and a medical center.
The Sidekicks program, the only program in the state made specifically for the siblings of cancer patients, started in 1988. Camp Sunrise recognized that these children have unique needs also, and deserved a program of their own.
The Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks programs now serves thousands of children, with a volunteer staff of more than 100 adults. There are retreats, teen trips, and other special events year round.
Our number one goal is to give these kids a “normal” summer camp experience, in a setting that caters to their special medical needs. Medical staff are on call 24 hours a day.
Some traditional camp activities we offer include archery, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, arts & crafts, and singing around a campfire. We also offer some non-traditional activities like rappelling, dance, drama, magic, scrap booking, and cooking. We also have fun activities like a dance, a carnival, and the oh-so-sticky Jello War.