‘Touched By An Angel’ angels went to AIDS camp in 1997

Monica, Tess, Andrea and Rafael went to Camp Sunlight in an episode called “The Pact” on the fourth season of Touched By An Angel. The angels discover after arriving that all of the girls at the camp have HIV or AIDS.

Tess (Della Reese), who is the program director, leads the dining hall in the camp song, “If you’re happy at Camp Sunlight clap your hands!” and organizes the talent show, Rafael works in the infirmary and I’m not really sure what Andrew does. Monica (Roma Downey) serves as a counselor in a bunk with some challenging campers played, one named Erin who is played by a 15-year-old Thora Birch in an early role. Erin, who shows up to camp wearing a camp shirt with Sunlight crossed out and Sundown written in its place, bosses the newbie campers around and is generally unpleasant except to Andrew (John Dye), who she develops a crush on.

The fact that Birch was 15 and Dye was 34 at the time makes the crush a little strange and hard to believe, particularly when Erin paints “Erin Loves Andrew” on a rock resembling a face that the campers normally use as a tribute to deceased campmates. When Andrew rejects her she’s pretty devastated and sent on a downward spiral of negativity that eventually leads her to hatch a plan for her and three of her camp friends to commit suicide together.

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Luckily, the angels are there and reveal their true identities at just the right time – the girls are lined up near the rock with baggies of pills stolen from the infirmary in hand when they see the “light show.” After being told several times that God loves them and wants them to live, they dump the pills and return to camp with a new outlook on life.

Once there, they are reunited with their friend Kim (Olivia Hack, who I immediately recognized as one of Rorie’s college roommates on Gilmore Girls) who they assumed had died after she got hurt sliding headfirst into homeplate in a softball game. “What if Kim came back and we were gone?” Erin says to her friend Nikki (Meagan Good). “I guess we made the right choice,” Nikki says before what is perhaps the quote of the episode, “She lives! And so do we!”

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“The Pact” originally aired on Oct. 26, 1997 and was filmed somewhere in Utah. The episode is available on the fourth season DVD at Amazon.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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