Aurora Day Camp

Aurora Day Camp
  • Contest: 2021 Northwestern Excellence in Camp Programming - Photo Submission
  • Name of Entry: Camp Program or Activity
  • Contact Name: Sami Tanenbaum
  • Contact Phone: 14044286865
  • Email: sami@auroradaycamp.org
  • What Should the Voters Know?: Summer 2021 for Aurora Day Camp was nothing shy of incredible. While this summer may have looked a little different due to our COVID precautions, having in-person camp for 6 weeks was desperately needed for our campers. Parents were extremely grateful to have had a safe, fun environment for their children to socialize with peers and to enjoy their childhood. Our days were filled with STEAM experiences, making friendship bracelets, developing archery skills, participating in martial arts, and making memories that will last a lifetime.

    One highlight that made our summer sparkle a little brighter was Aurora’s Got Talent. AGT is always an anticipated event among campers and staff, but we didn’t quite know how special the event would turn out to be. Our brave campers dazzled us with magic tricks, impersonations, dances, gymnastic skills, and more. Two campers in particular, captivated us with their talents- Amanda and Brian. Amanda is new to Aurora and because of her special needs, she was only able to attend camp for three days. Her third day was the Talent Show. When it was her turn, Amanda confidently walked up to the stage and performed a beautiful original song. Since she has a trac, she sang along to a prerecorded track so we could all hear her better. This sweet girl had the entire staff in tears. The moment she finished, cheers and a standing ovation erupted. You could feel how much love and pride there was in the theater for her.

    We didn’t know it then, but the second camper that truly left an imprint on our hearts was the final act. Brian had been an Aurora camper since 2019 when he came with his older brother and sister. When we met him that first summer, we were told that Brian was at in-home hospice and that his family wasn’t sure if he would make it through the summer. Fast forward to 2021 with Brian sitting in a wheelchair on the stage sharing his favorite jokes with camp. That day, Brian had come to camp late and since his body was rapidly declining, he was exhausted and spent the day resting. After his counselors lovingly asked him if he wanted to go home, very determinedly he told them that he wanted to stay for the talent show and share his jokes so he could make us smile and laugh. Brian did just that and a few short days later, he passed away. Aurora’s Got Talent is more than an event where camper’s showcase their abilities, it is a celebration of life and love.