Help Through Services and Support
Volunteer at MDA Summer Camp
You can make an impact on the lives of children with muscular dystrophy or related diseases during their best week of the year.
Camp can change your life just as it changes the lives of campers.
MDA Summer Camp wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Each summer, hundreds of volunteers serve as counselors and medical staff for up to one week to help make Summer Camp a safe, fun and memorable experience.
As a volunteer, you will be the camper's “buddy” for the week as you participate in adaptive camp experiences, games, dances, meal time and more. You also will take on the role of 24-hour caregiver, friend and confidence-builder.
A volunteer counselor’s role at a glance:
- Meet the needs of assigned campers with sensitivity, respect and care
- Attend to camper’s physical needs, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, etc.
- Maintain a clean, orderly and safe environment in cabins
- Have fun and participate in daily activities with enthusiasm
- Set a high standard of cooperation and respect
- Implement procedures to keep all campers safe
“You’re there to help the kids, and you’re also there to help them function independently. If there’s any impact we make, it’s having these kids feel like they have more of an ability to live independently [than they did] prior to camp. As different as we are, we’re not that different.” — Robb Valentyn, counselor (Read more about Robb’s Summer Camp experience)
A medical volunteer’s role at a glance:
- Supervise and maintain the health and well-being of campers
- Dispense medications and perform first aid
- Maintain health and treatment documentation
- Review all camp applications with MDA Staff Camp Coordinator prior to camp
- Be part of the Emergency Decision Team
- Maintain equipment and supplies
“As far as life decisions go, I cannot think of any other decision I have made that has made such a large impact on my life and career than agreeing to be a part of the MDA camp experience.” — Heeren Patel, M.D., medical staff volunteer
Application requirements and time commitments:
- 16+ years of age (18 years of age at some camp facilities)
- 24/7 commitment during the week of camp
- Ability to attend mandatory pre-camp training
- Of sufficient strength and health to lift and care for campers
- Completed camp application with two references and a background check
- Physical exam in the past year and up-to-date immunizations
- Interview with MDA staff
Please note: Lodging, meals and activities are provided. Transportation to and from camp is the responsibility of the volunteer.
“When I first got involved in MDA Summer Camp [28 years ago], I’d say that it was cool to help these kids experience these things that I thought they couldn’t do on a regular basis. Years later, I decided that I would answer the question of why I volunteer at camps differently. I do it for me. I like it. I like going. I like helping people. It makes me feel good.” -- Todd Dewey, counselor (Read more about Todd's Summer Camp experiences)
Interested in becoming an MDA Summer Camp volunteer?
Complete our volunteer inquiry form. We'll be in touch soon!
- Your MDA Care Center
- Young Adult Programs
- Find Support
- Neuromuscular Disease Registry
- Quest Magazine
- The Affordable Care Act