Camp Sunshine is a beautiful summer camp that was established for kids battling all types of pediatric cancers. The reaction of the campers when they saw the Georgia football team and Coach Smart enter their camp gym was priceless! The camp is an extraordinary place for these kids and then to fill it with special people like the Georgia Bulldogs creates an exceptional moment that is incomparable.
When the players arrived at Camp Sunshine, they were welcomed by multiple camp staffers. Following a tour of the camp, the afternoon was spent interacting with the kids through dodgeball and great dunks by the players. These kids are often restricted in some activities due to their illnesses, but with these players and at this camp they can participate in all of the events.
Coach Smart has been a member of the Camp Sunshine family for most of his life. His brother, Karl Smart, was diagnosed with cancer and came to the camp as a camper and later as a counselor. Camp Sunshine is a very emotional place to him and his family, so he brought his wife, Mary Beth, and three kids, Julia, Weston, and Andrew. He loves the camp with a passion, and it was displayed throughout the entire afternoon. Many of the players we spoke to said this is one of those times where we get to see relaxed Kirby.
Mo Thrash, the camp director, welcomed the Dawgs to the camp with a speech about the camp history and the types of kids that are apart of the beautiful camp. Before the dodgeball commenced, Mr. Thrash made one more comment to the players. He called them “heroes.” The media spoke to several players and asked each one the question, “What did it mean to you to be called a hero?” Each one was honored to be considered even the slightest of heroes. Isaac Nauta said it best, “I feel like they [the campers] are the heroes.” I believe this sums up exactly what this experience means to all of the players who come and participate in Camp Sunshine. These kids are the real MVPs!