Summer camp season is in full swing - and one camp has some special guests.
More than 60 campers took over Tall Oaks Conference Center near Linwood June 8th thru 14th. All are living with some form of muscular dystrophy. For them, the week is their one chance of the year to be just like everyone else.
The smile on 6-year old Rudy's face was all a person had to see to know the experience was having its intended effect. He and his new friend Clayton danced around in the mist from a fire hose, at times riding on their counselors' backs. Rudy said seeing the fire hose in action and witnesses a parade of fire trucks had been his favorite event of the week - so far!
17-year old Adam Maciejewski had a different view of camp this year. The long-time camper decided to graduate to counselor. He was matched up with 11-year old Will, who has Charcot Marie Tooth disease, just like Adam does. Adam says he was enjoying the responsibility and hoped to teach Will all camp had to offer. Among the lessons? "Anything you set your mind to, you can do," Adam said.
It's a message that hits home with another group of counselors. Longtime camper Adam Sahlfeld lost his battle against muscular dystrophy last November. His sister, Ashley, and cousins Dustin and Laci returned to camp as counselors to continue in Adam's spirit.
Dustin says he knows how much it meant to Adam to come to camp and how important it is to the kids to be with people who are like them.
Ashley says camp is a place where they aren't singled out as the only ones with a disease. She says, at camp, all the kids can play and they feel they're part of a team.
"It's like a family," she says.
The kids and their families don't pay anything for the week. The camp is funded with donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Support MDA's efforts with a donation to the Jerry Lewis Telethon, Labor Day on WIBW-TV.