South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Volunteers needed for MDA summer camps


January 20, 2009

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is searching for volunteer counselors to assist and befriend youngsters with muscular dystrophy and related diseases at weeklong MDA summer camps across the country.

Applicants must be at least 16 years old and able to lift and care for a young person between the ages of 6 and 17. Each volunteer counselor becomes a companion to a camper with a muscle disease and helps with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. Counselors also assist campers with recreational activities such as arts and crafts, swimming and horseback riding.

“MDA summer camp is an incredibly valuable experience for the young people we serve,” said MDA president and CEO Gerald C. Weinberg. “It's a week during which they build confidence and independence, and participate in a full range of activities that often aren't accessible to them.”

Volunteer counselors say the experience is a special, life-changing experience for them as well. “They often tell us they come away with far more than they give,” Mr. Weinberg said.

At no charge to families, MDA's summer camp program serves more than 4,000 campers nationwide, with more than 5,000 volunteers making it possible.

In 2008, MDA held 90 camp sessions at 75 locations in 43 states and Puerto Rico. There were 400 medical staff members, 295 of whom were volunteers. It costs the Association $800 to send one child to camp.

To obtain a volunteer application or learn about other ways to support MDA's summer camp program, call the local MDA office at (800) 572-1717. More information about summer camp volunteers can be found at


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