Watch What Camp Life is Like for Children Who are Allergic to the Sun - Atlas Obscura
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Watch What Camp Life is Like for Children Who are Allergic to the Sun

Life is more fun under the stars, anyway.

SUNDOWN from Liza Mandelup on Vimeo.

Summer camp is a great American tradition. And one completely out of reach for the so-called “children of the night”—the name given to kids who are allergic to the sun.

This rare condition, xeroderma pigmentosum, makes summer camp, or any daytime outdoors activity, painful and even fatally dangerous. Luckily, there is a place that seeks to reclaim the tradition for children afflicted with XP: Camp Sundown. Opened in 1995, the camp is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, as it continues to grow in attendance and in its efforts to bring attention to the condition.

Directed by Liza Mandelup, this video takes us into the world of Camp Sundown, where the hours are inverted and everyone comes out as soon as the sun is down. Located in Craryville, New York, it allows children to form a family with others who understand their condition. They swim, play around, watch movies, and roast marshmallows, all under the cover of the night.

Some of the camp counselors, themselves veterans of life with XP, give us an insight on what life is like for attendees. The message, it seems, is that while life is not easy, there’s always a ray of moonlight to be found. 

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