Illuminate is the ‘young’ arm of Camp Simcha. In this case, young is defined as mid 20s up to age 45.
Chief Executive of Camp Simcha, Neville Goldschneider explains:
While for many charities, the ‘young’ branches are aimed at a graduate to mid-30s audience, we made a deliberate decision to try to reach a wider demographic for two reasons.
Firstly, at the younger end we want to find a way to keep our alumni involved – the former Big Brother and Sister volunteers, age 18-25, who support the seriously children and their siblings.
While active in the charity, they are with our families, week in, week out, at parties, outings and retreats and because they see up close the difference our services make, they are all incredibly committed to Camp Simcha. Once they finish in their role as a Big Brother or Sister, they often want to find a way to stay involved.
Secondly, as a charity that helps seriously ill children, we particularly resonate with people who have young families or are about to start a family.
While many of these people may not be at the stage in their lives where they would attend the big biennial dinner, they do want to support us. Camp Simcha Illuminate enables them to do this.
It is not just about one evening – it is the start of a long-term process of involvement for people who are the next generation of supporters and who can build on what the charity has already achieved.
The charity chose to name its Young Camp Simcha brand, Illuminate.
Time and time again our families tell us the support they get from our team feels like light being brought back into their lives in the darkest of times. We felt ‘Illuminate’ was an apt way to represent this to the people who will be helping ensure we can continue to do this.
The dinner raised over £60,000 and guests heard from a former Big Brother volunteer Shmuli Kruskal and Eli, the boy he supported from the age of four.
Eli, now 15, was diagnosed with a tumour behind his optic nerve, which though operable, resulted in permanent blindness.
Eli told his audience;
Camp Simcha is unique. Not only did they make sure I enjoyed myself immensely… they made me, a blind boy, feel like a somebody, somebody who had people supporting me, caring for me, looking out for me. They made me feel like I had potential.