Susan Falkner and the Columbus Junior Auxiliary Provisional class of 1987 adopted as their class project an investigation into the possibility of opening a traditional summer camp for children in Mississippi that have been or were currently being treated for cancer. They spent the next year carefully planning, securing funding, locating a camp site and recruiting volunteers. A community wide contest was held to select a name, and in the summer of 1988 a total of 43 children participated in the first session of Camp Rising Sun.
The first successful camp was held at a Christian camp in Macon, Mississippi. However, that site would not be available the next year, so a search was started to find a new site. After visiting many camps in Mississippi the Columbus, Mississippi YMCA's Camp Henry Pratt was chosen as the new site for Camp Rising Sun. Through a community wide effort Camp Henry Pratt was renovated to accommodate children with special needs. Community leaders Hyde Powers, Tom Sneed, Harry Terrell, Bobby Harper and many others volunteered their time and resources to refurbish the bathrooms, install new mattresses, clean and paint the cabins and build a new "Med Shed." Since the summer of 1989 Camp Henry Pratt has been the home for Camp Rising Sun.
Camp Rising Sun continues to provide children with cancer the opportunity to take part in a traditional summer camp. Campers have enjoyed swimming, rock wall climbing, canoeing, jet skiing, arts and crafts, karate, riflery, camp fires, a dance, talent show and many other activities.
Camp Rising Sun is a 501-3c charitable organization financed by donations and staffed by volunteers. Recognizing the financial challenges these families face due to medical related expenses this camp program is offered at no charge to the camper.
Many lifelong friends have been made at camp and with the continued support of many generous people, the future looks bright for Camp Rising Sun.