[Registration is now open for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Virtual Summer Camp for children ages 8-17 at no cost to families. (Photo courtesy of the Muscular Dystrophy Association)]

Register now for MDA Virtual Explorers, Adventure Awaits — an online program that brings the magic of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) summer camp to campers across the country.

MDA’s 65th annual summer camp is being held virtually this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Open at no cost to families, MDA’s virtual Summer Camp includes accessible activities, themed programming, virtual connections with fellow campers and more.

“Summer camp is a time when children develop critical skills that build their confidence to take on challenges throughout their lives. We believe that even virtually our children can continue to grow and learn,” says Jennifer Allebach, SVP of Recreation, Camp and Community Programs, in a media release from MDA.

“Typically, this is a time of year when thousands of MDA campers pack their bags and head to a week of fun and adventure in the great outdoors. While we’re not able to join together in-person this year for the safety of our campers, we have the same goal: to provide a summer camp experience for children and young adults with neuromuscular disease.”

MDA’s summer camp program offers a way for children to have new experiences and stay connected while traditional summer camp is on hiatus due to the pandemic. Siblings are also welcomed to join them. For most activities, campers and families will select the best time for them to participate on demand.

Camp will be offered to children ages 8-17 in one-week sessions (Monday-Thursday), beginning the week of June 22 through the week of July 27. Families will select the week of their choice when registering their children.

Campers and volunteers from the 2019 MDA Summer Camp season will have the opportunity to reunite and reconnect with their specific camp communities later this summer during Camp Connections.

Camp programming will include daily themes like Safari; Trailblazers; Stargazers; and World Travelers. Activities will include art projects, scavenger hunts, a virtual escape room, STEM projects and more, the release continues.

There will also be Signature programs for campers.

  • My Powerful Story: Campers will participate in creating an online repository of stories of diagnosis, advocacy, camp and life from the neuromuscular disease community. Some stories will be told through video animation. 
  • Open Style Lab with Christina Mallon: Open Style Lab (OSL) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating functional wearable solutions for people of all abilities without compromising on style. They will team their designers, engineers, and occupational therapists with a group of campers to conceive and build accessible wearables that address the needs of people with disabilities.
  • How to Solve a Problem like a Firefighter—The Escape Room: This virtual activity will give every camper the opportunity to learn problem-solving skills a s they unearth clues and answer questions that will allow them to “escape” from a firehouse common room. This virtual activity was developed in partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).
  • Street Art with Lonnie Lardner: MDA is proud to partner with Lonnie Lardner to provide a virtual street art program to inspire our campers to connect with their creative spirits and encourage their self-exploration through the medium of painting.
  • MDA Let’s Play: Campers will be invited to participate in MDA’s weekly family gaming nights where they can interact with other gamers, build networks, gain independence and experience joy connecting with friends online.

[RELATED: Muscular Dystrophy Association Launches MDA Let’s Play Gaming Platform]

“MDA is committed to provided ongoing care for families through the pandemic. We weren’t going to let COVID-19 stop us from continuing to bring our camp community together – from the campers to the volunteers and our dedicated medical staff and sponsors like the IAFF, Harley-Davidson and CITGO, to name a few,” says Lynn O’Connor Vos, President and CEO of MDA. “We needed to continue to have camp this summer to keep this community connected and the progress these children have made moving forward.”

[Source(s): Muscular Dystrophy Association, PR Newswire]