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Samy's Camera Captures Holiday Memories for Camp Ronald McDonald Cancer Patients and Families


Samy's Camera Captures Holiday Memories for Camp Ronald McDonald Cancer Patients and Families

December 20, 2016  |  by Deborah Cloyed
Since 1982, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times has offered a variety of camping opportunities for cancer patients and their families, helping them “recapture hope, enthusiasm, and love of life in a medically and psychologically safe environment created especially for them. ”Every December, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times throws a lavish Holiday Party for camp participants and their families.  Over 3,000 people attend, allowing campers to celebrate the holiday plus an opportunity to see each other again. The event takes place at Warner Bros. Ranch, home of exterior sets recognizable from shows like “Bewitched” and “Friends,” and movies like “American Beauty.”  Besides plenty of food and music, there’s fun rides and activity booths for the kids and families, promising, truly, a Good Time for all. Since 2009, Samy’s Camera has donated a full -service photo booth for the Camp Ronald McDonald Holiday Party, providing families with a treasured keepsake of a precious memory.Longtime Samy’s Camera Rental Manager Harold Sweet heads the endeavor, with a team of employees working on overdrive to provide a non-stop line of families with beautiful holiday portraits. Originally, Harold says they decorated the fake façade of the Dennis the Menace House on the Burbank back lot, before changing to green screen to provide a festive “winter wonderland” backdrop. Harold says the team’s goal is simple: “to work as fast as we can” to serve as many families as possible. Photo Booths require clockwork coordination and effort.  Harold helms a team consisting of three “happy photographers,” two “photo/printer managers” (getting the prints into sleeves and folders), and a “crowd controller” that organizes the families onto and off the set.  With this set-up they average 400-500 prints in three hours – that’s nearly 3 prints per minute!! The Samy’s Camera team arrives at 9:30 am to be set up by noon, when the gates open.  From then on no one scarcely has time to breathe until the party’s end time at 3:00 pm, or until they invariably get ‘shut down.’  There’s a line the entire time, a rewarding sign that the booth is one of the most popular attractions. It’s a Herculean effort – weeks of preparation culminating in the “theatrical act of shooting, posing, and running the Big Top Show” that Harold says is more than worth it for the simple joy of “putting smiles on faces.” He thanks Samy for graciously donating the employees’ time and materials and adds that as long as Camp Ronald wants, they can count on Samy’s Camera. *All Photos courtesy of Samy's Camera. 
December 20, 2016

About the Author

Deborah Cloyed

Deborah Cloyed

Deborah Cloyed is the creator/director of the after school program Samy’s Camera Photo Camp and Samy’s Outreach – serving community members in need. In addition to her work with Samy's Camera, Deborah has fifteen years experience as a commercial photographer, author, and instructor - in Los Angeles, DC, NYC, Kenya, and Honduras.

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