I was pleasantly inspired this morning to take a step back into my childhood. I wanted to go back and draw a scene I saw almost every day for three or four years: Sunshine School, or Sunshine Day Care in the summer.
Growing up with constantly working parents, I resorted to this place to do my “growing.”
Everyday, my mom would drop me off at this daycare and, my my, did I spend my long summer days in the best place ever.
My childhood was filled with great memories: water balloon fights, pools filled with shaving cream, playing dress up, designing what I thought were fashion magazines, playing freeze tag, and much much more. A sense of nostalgia is creeping over me this very moment.
The Sunshine Summer Program truly did what it offered. It gave me a place to stay, wonderful friends, and the freedom to grow and be happy. Not one day went by without something for me to bug my parents about when I got home. “Guess what I did today!!”
I remember as far back as when the Loyall Public Swimming Pool was open, and the staff would take us on field trips. I remember going to Kingdom Come and watching bears. I remember taking walks, and finding the “secret” playground in Sunshine with a slide so steep that I would scream walking up to it until I finally reached the floor.
At one age in time, I remember it being my “duty” to water the flowers. I was the Sunshine “Flower” Girl, and the sense of responsibility I gained from that title still carries within me today.
I remember laughing so many times and the crazy dresses my friends (some male) would put on. I remember acting like rich queens or a dog sitter. I remember putting the water hose down the slide and making a water slide. I remember playing with shaving cream and building forts outside with giant blocks.
But, unfortunately, I remember the program going down hill as well. I look back on it now, and it was probably due to lack of funding.
I remember when the Loyall Pool shut down, and the staff was left to bus us all the way to Barbouville Water Park. I remember when the number of friends I saw kept going down. I remember when we stopped doing as many things because of limited staff. And I remember when the daycare stopped entirely. I regret having to go through those memories.
Never the less, Sunshine was my childhood. Thankfully, with it’s passing, it had already given me the fun and knowledge to grow up and be my own individual. It allowed me to somewhat find myself as a young child, and it still gives me hope that there are still programs out there trying to recover from it’s lost.
My point here is, not only to detail the greatness that this summer program bestowed upon me and the memories that fulfill my growth, but to encourage support for programs like this. In an age, especially in my hometown, where poverty seems to drown us, these places provide guidance to the young children like me many many years ago. Whether it may be the Boys and Girls’ Club, Upward Bound, the YMCA, or anything likewise…all the programs need support.
My heart breaks to remember this loss, but I am still thankful for all the experiences the program put me through. My childhood is fulfilled, and I can only hope that others still have a chance at fulfillment as well.