The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has begun another season of its well known summer camp, marking its 60th year in operation. The MDA summer camp aims to support families by hosting thousands of children struggling against muscular dystrophy and similar conditions that seriously limit their mobility and muscular strength. The summer camp assists kids in helping them build self-confidence by offering them independence and freedom with no cost to families. Camp season started on May 26 with the opening in Roach, MO of the first camp and will proceed until the last days of August. Over 3,500 kids are expected in almost 75 camps across the country.
The MDA CEO and President, Steven M. Derks, said in a press release: “For the past 60 years, MDA has created a world specifically designed for kids fighting neuromuscular diseases, where they can bond with others for a week and share experiences with those who understand what it means to live with muscle disease. Our donors and sponsors have helped us deliver very special camp sessions to children whose abilities to stand, walk, run, hug and even breathe are limited, and we have benefited from hundreds of thousands of camp volunteers providing one-on-one support.”
The theme for the 2015 season is “Awesome Adventures,” since there is fun and safe outdoor experience such as swimming, horseback riding, adaptive sports, camp dances, arts and crafts and much more.
“I love MDA summer camp, and I can’t wait until I get to go this summer and see my friends. At camp, I learned how to be more independent and to teach other people besides my mom how to help take care of me. My favorite memory from camp is the time we made the boys dress up like girls and do the ‘Chicken Dance’ because they got caught playing pranks on us!” said Reagan Imhoff, the MDA’s 2015 National Goodwill Ambassador.
For families, MDA summer camp is the opportunity for them to rest from their full-time role of caregivers of these children. Parents can trust that their children receive the best medical support.
“Once a year I leave Reagan in the capable hands of MDA’s camp staff, knowing that she has the support she needs to have fun and thrive. While Reagan is away this year, I plan to use the time to have a few date nights with my husband, maybe see a non-kids movie, get a massage and sleep in every morning! It helps me to rejuvenate and be a better mom and caretaker for Reagan. Come Thursday night, I can’t wait for the next morning to see her again and go pick her up. My favorite is the car ride home where we get to hear about all the fun she had!” noted Reagan’s mother, Jenny Imhoff.
The camp offers friendship, fun and it builds these children’s confidence and independence.
“Camp is a very special place that brings together the best of our humanity in volunteerism, as well as fun mixed with important life lessons for all who participate. When I talk to MDA campers, they are just as eager to talk about swimming, high ropes courses, arts and crafts and singing around the camp fire as they are about friendships with fellow camper and counselors,” concluded Derks.