The Center for Courageous Kids is a world class medical camp that serves children with many different diseases for no charge. Some of these diseases include autism, asthma, cancer, diabetes, and leukemia. The medical care they provide allows seriously ill children to attend their camp when they have no way to attend a regular summer camp. The medical center is fully supplied with whatever the campers should have to meet their medical needs. On VIP Day, we got a full tour of this medical center and the rest of the facilities at the camp.
As we arrived at the medical center at the beginning of the day, we saw various groups who had also been invited for raising funds themselves for MDA. It showed how much support there is for MDA even in just our local region, let alone the country. There were 78 children with muscular dystrophy attending the camp that week and each had their own counselor that helped them throughout camp. When the tour started, we visited the arts and crafts building, which included rooms for music, cooking, art, a woodshop, and a beauty shop. They told us how the girls would come to the beauty shop the night before the dance to get ready and how every child built their own wooden car for a race at camp. If a child wasn’t physically able, they could tell their counselor exactly how they wanted their car to look and their vision would come true. Next, we visited the building that all the children came to for fun and games, such as bowling, pool, and pinball. For children that couldn’t physically bowl with their arms, the camp had a tool that would allow the child to push the bowling ball down a slope and into the lane with their chin.
Then our tour took us to the pool and gym. The pool was a place where all children could have fun without worrying about their condition. In this building, we saw their own personal Hall of Fame and the walls were covered with tiles with children’s handprints on them and their name. You could see how many children had attended this camp and had their lives changed. We got a small look at one of the lodges the children stayed in during camp. There was also a pond where everyone could fish and stables where every kid was given the chance to ride a horse, no matter what. After the tour, we had a rare chance to see the children participate in one of their favorite activities, the "Messy Games." They were so enthusiastic and excited to be covered in pudding, oatmeal, paint, and melted ice cream.
As the games went on, the joy on the children’s faces was clear and they were having the time of their life. This was exactly what the camp was supposed to be about; these children having fun and doing things that they had been told and thought they couldn’t do. They thought they would never get to attend summer camp like other kids, but MDA and the founder of the Center for Courageous Kids gave them this opportunity to almost forget about their condition and just have fun like any kid that got to go to camp would have. Seeing those faces helped us realize how special these children are and exactly what we contribute to every year when we fundraise for MDA. DECA’s theme this year is “Make It Count” and MDA clearly makes it count each and every day for these children and many others.