by Donna Shurr

Jennifer Gallo, health educator and teacher presented a brief talk about her participation in and her enthusiasm for Camp Sunrise.  Gallo and her husband Justin have been volunteer counselors for 7 years and have become passionate about this amazing wonderful camp for the children who have been affected by HIV/AIDS.  Gallo related many stories about the children who have benefited from the experience of being at camp and of the relationships that are built through their summer experience. She also shared the story of how Camp Sunrise started and the strong Oberlin connection.

After volunteering for 3 summers as a counselor for a camp in California for children impacted by HIV/AIDS in California, Christin Locke Brown (grad of OHS, 1987 and grad of Ohio University, 1992) founded Camp Sunrise in Ohio in 1995.  Camp Sunrise is a recreational, therapeutic camp held in August and caters not only to children who are suffering from the disease but those kids whose lives are affected because a family member has AIDS or has died from the illness. Camp Sunrise is fully staffed with trained counselors, social workers, medical staff and other professionals to care for the children’s social, emotional and health needs.  There is no charge for children to attend the camp.  Christin wanted to be able to provide an opportunity where kids will be able to feel normal.  She wants them to have fun and to be able to connect with people who understand what they are going through.  Campers are treated to a wide array of activities, from sports, drama, and arts and crafts to the typical campfires and cabin raids that are the cornerstone of camp memories.

Christin stepped down as the director of Camp Sunrise in 2000 in order to attend nursing school.  She still attends the camp as a volunteer camp nurse. Over the years, more than 1500 children have attended the camp and some return as counselors.  This is just one of the wonderful stories of an OHS graduate who has made a difference in the broader community.  Not only have Christin's efforts helped children who are affected by AIDS/HIV, she has inspired many individuals to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of these children.  

The Rotarians enjoyed Gallo's lively, entertaining and moving presentation about Camp Sunrise.  Oberlin Rotary was very involved in the establishment of Camp Sunrise during the formative years.  They were very impressed with the fact that the Camp has had such a huge impact on so many.

Image

Rotarian, Bert Locke was very excited to hear Jennifer Gallo's presentation 
a camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS which was started by his daughter
and OHS graduate, Christin Locke Brown in 1995.