Monday, June 23, 2008

Newsletter Article this week

Several of you have asked me- how was your week at MDA Camp? The truth is it was at the same time one of the most difficult and one of the most rewarding ways I have ever spent a week in my life! For those of you who don’t know, I took four days of vacation last week so that I could join my husband at Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Summer Camp at Camp Discovery. For David this was the 25th year that he has been involved in the camp- they consider him “senior staff.” For me, this was my first and “rookie” year.
Let me answer a few questions for you. First, what is Muscular Dystrophy? The muscular dystrophies (MD) are a group of more than 30 genetic diseases characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal muscles that control movement. Who came to camp? There were about 50 campers from the middle Tennessee area that came to camp as well as one or two counselors for each camper, and tons of staff to help camp run smoothly. What do the kids do at camp? Arts and crafts, swimming, boat rides, fishing tournament, horseback riding, karaoke night, casino night, watch movies, skit night, and don’t forget the dance! There was so much to do at MDA camp- I don’t think anyone was bored!
What made it a tough week for me? Well, my cabin coordinator gave me the “baptism by fire award.” My camper had a rough week when she got sick on Wednesday and we had to spend the night and all day Thursday at the Cookeville hospital. Other difficult things for me included figuring out how to bathe, dress and help to the bathroom someone in a wheelchair without the full use of her neck and leg muscles. My camper had a power wheel chair though, which gave her incredible mobility. She also came equipped with intelligence, spunk, and hormones that made her an above-average twelve year old girl! I learned so much from her about how to truly care for someone.
They told us in orientation that the week would be all about our camper and not about us at all. I think it would be helpful for everyone to have that experience, to be reminded for a week that the world is not all about them. It was a humbling experience for me. I learned that I need more affirmation than I wish I did. I also wish I had more patience than I have. All in all I had a great week- and gave 100% of myself to the camp. Needless to say if I seemed to be sleep-walking on Sunday- I was still catching up!
I may not get in 25 years like David, but I plan on returning to MDA Camp for as many years as I can!! Enjoy the pictures of me and my camper, and then me catching a fish during the fishing tournament!

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