Summer CampPosted: Updated:
About six years ago, my previous employer, a television station in Oregon, asked me to help host the local segments of the MDA telethon. I didn't know anything about the MDA and I was a little uncomfortable asking viewers for money, but I reluctantly said yes. It was an experience that changed my life. I got to hang out with the most interesting and inspirational people I've ever met, tell their stories and then be a part of making their lives better. A few years later, I was thrilled to get a job at 3TV, which also partners with the MDA. This upcoming Labor Day telethon will be my sixth....and I can't wait!
In Oregon, I was sent to the MDA's summer camp each year for a day. As a reporter, I tried in one afternoon to capture the experience these kids were having, and bring back video to share during the telethon. In Arizona, I decided to step back from the reporter role, and head to camp as a counselor. I was pretty nervous about spending an entire week with a child in a wheelchair. I don't have kids and don't know much about taking care of a child, much less a child with leg braces, a back brace and a wheelchair. But my nervousness was quickly replaced by laughter when I met Sierra.
It only took once for me to put her leg braces on backwards, and she was making fun of me to our whole cabin. Talk about entertainment....this little girl had me laughing non-stop. She was the fiestiest little thing I'd ever seen when it came to wheelchair soccer. She hammed it up at the talent show and boogied the night away with me at the dance.
I returned to be Sierra's counselor again this year. Again, we both had an unforgettable, fun time. Each and every one of the campers say it is the best week of their lives, and when camp is over, they immediately start looking forward to next year.
I'd encourage anyone to consider being a counselor. Almost all of the counselors I've met at MDA camp have been going for years. It seems they all get just as much out of the experience as the kids!
I'll be sharing more of my camp experiences during the upcoming telethon. I'm sure Sierra will be there as well, making fun of my lack of maternal instinct. I hope everyone will be able to see what this camp means to kids with muscular dystrophy. Thank you to everyone who's ever donated to the MDA to make that experience possible!