For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. Each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families.
In the wake of the pandemic last year, MDA’s traditional in-person summer camps pivoted to virtual, providing nearly 750 campers with crafts, community, and skill-building from the safety of their homes. Despite the physical distance, reunions took place, new connections were made, and signature programs were created to maintain the feeling of camp and deliver campers’ favorite week of the year.
This summer, MDA Summer Camp’s virtual experience returned with a new theme, appropriately named “The Great Escape.” MDA campers are invited to break away from their everyday routines to try new activities and interact with fellow campers from all over the country. Each day of the week featured a unique topic with related activities and adventures. Participants also receive a supply box with materials, camp apparel, arts and craft items, and more, to enhance the fun as they gain confidence and independence.
The engaging “camp in a box” is supported by the Ronnie and Jared MDA Camp Fund, established by their family through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, to honor the memories of brothers Ronnie and Jared – an MDA camper and his brother who spent many joyful hours hanging with MDA kids and counselors throughout the years, experiencing friendships that lasted a lifetime.
Since campers participate from their homes, siblings are welcomed to join in the fun. For most activities, campers and families will select the best time for them to participate on demand.
The boys’ mother shared, “MDA is family, and the heart of this family is MDA’s life-changing camp. Our son Ronnie attended MDA camp, and his brother Jared became an “honorary member” of the MDA family. MDA’s remarkable volunteer attendants do not give just a week of their life each year, they give their hearts to these kids and their families. Our family has been beyond blessed to be a part of this beautiful community.” Whether camp is in-person or virtual, Ronnie and Jared’s family encourages everyone to support this life-giving community.
“Charitable funds like this one remembering brothers, Ronnie and Jared, are so special because they bring so much joy to the world while honoring our loved ones,” said Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation.
The success of MDA Summer Camp is driven by the invaluable partners and donors that believe in the mission of the MDA and support it through unique and creative ways, such as the Ronnie and Jared MDA Camp Fund. “We have enjoyed working with the Catholic Foundation to bring the idea of a camp supply box to life for this year’s virtual MDA Summer Camp program,” said Louise S. Zingaro National Philanthropy Officer, Eastern Division with MDA.
“Having been a Michigander for 49 years, I feel proud of what the Catholic Foundation of Michigan is doing to support great work with donors,” shared Kathy Kauffmann, MDA’s Chief Strategy and Development Officer.
The Catholic Foundation is honored to be part of this beautiful partnership and invite you to consider supporting this beautiful cause.