Volunteers are the backbone of Camp Promise
As a volunteer, you will be responsible for caring for campers, delivering the magic of camp, and stretching the realm of possibility for our campers.
Volunteering at Camp Promise is a life-changing experience and every year we recruit and select highly motivated, enthusiastic, and energetic individuals from all over the country. Strong volunteers are mature and responsible individuals who like working hard as part of a team and who are willing to learn.
Camp Promise volunteers come from all over the country and have diverse backgrounds, so whatever your skills may be, if you are committed to making camp the best week of our campers’ year, we’d love to hear from you!
The friendships our volunteers build at Camp Promise are special, meaningful, and strong.
As a volunteer, no two days are alike and no two experiences are the same, but here are a few reports from both rookie and returning volunteers.
We have camps in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Washington, retreats in Ohio and Arizona, and you can learn more about each specific site on our homepage!
All camps offer volunteer opportunities.
We believe that despite one’s physical abilities or medical needs, everyone deserves to experience the magic of camp. For many people with neuromuscular diseases, other camps and even sleepovers with friends are not possible throughout the rest of the year. So, we provide a place where everyone is accepted, no matter his or her disability. For many of our campers, this is the one week of the year where they are able to be away from home, hang out with other people their own age who know what they’re going through. Camp Promise is a place where ALL of the fun is always accessible. A place where a camper can learn his or her potential and grow to meet it.
The friendships our volunteers build at Camp Promise are special, meaningful, and strong. Our volunteers often say they get much more than they give, and we believe it! Volunteer with us for just one week, and you’ll make memories and friends to last a lifetime.
Yes, but please think about whether you are doing this for the credit or because it’s something you really want to do. Trust us, there are much easier ways to rack up a week’s worth of volunteer hours.
Neuromuscular diseases are genetic diseases (no, they’re not contagious) that affects muscles. Most neuromuscular diseases are progressive, which means that our camper’s muscles get weaker as they get older. However, neuromuscular diseases progress at different rates in different individuals, so two campers with the same diagnosis may have different abilities and needs (that’s why it’s so important to ask questions instead of assuming!). Many campers use power wheelchairs and take daily medications, and some use medical equipment to help them breath at night or during the day.
There are more than 40 different types of muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular diseases, but Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Beckers muscular dystrophy are the two most common diagnoses of Camp Promise campers. Some other common diagnoses at Camp Promise include Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Freidreich’s Ataxia.
Our volunteers will learn more about their camper and their camper’s needs during Orientation.
Every summer, we recruit for hundreds of positions at Camp Promise and they are all filled by volunteers. You can join our cabin counselors and work one-on-one with a camper for the week, or you can join our Program Staff and help put on activities such as arts ‘n crafts, photography, sports, drama & music, yearbook editing, and more. We also have a Logistic Team and Medical Staff and they always need volunteers!
As a counselor, the most common role at camp, you would be paired with a camper for the week and the most important thing you can do is be a friend to your camper. By providing emotional support and friendship to your camper, you can build a relationship that continues beyond camp. Your responsibilities will depend on your camper, but all the counselors in each cabin work as a team. Some campers will need help transferring from their wheelchair to their bed, eating, using the restroom or assistance with medical equipment (all volunteers receive training at Orientation to help with these activities of daily living). Additionally, some campers will bring along a nurse to help with medical equipment that requires more training. If it’s your first year, you’ll most likely be paired with a camper who is more independent and needs less assistance.
We are also open to new positions, so if you have any special skills you want to lend to camp, please let us know!
It depends on the camp(s) you want to participate in, so check out our Camp Promise page for specific information such as dates, addresses, and more! Don’t forget, all volunteers must attend our mandatory Orientation session that takes place the day before campers arrive.
Our staff is a powerful team. Every hired volunteer is essential and we rely on each individual’s committment to operate at maximum capacity. Therefore, once camp begins all staff (and campers, too) must remain on site for the full duration of camp.
Further, because each camper is assigned their own counselor, we wouldn’t want a camper to feel deserted were their counselor to leave halfway through the week, nor would we want to off-set our staff-to-camper ratio, which may result in a safety issue.
All volunteers applying for counselor and unit leader positions must be able to attend the full week of camp. If you cannot attend the entire week of camp, we recommend you contact our office as we sometimes have single-day volunteer needs.
All volunteers report to camp for Orientation, which takes place the day before campers arrive. You’ll get a chance to meet all of the other counselors, unit leaders, program staff, our medical team and our logistics team, and yes, there will even be a corny ice breaker or two. At Orientation, counselors will learn who their camper is for the week, and others will meet their teams and resources for the week. We’ll all spend most of the day together, learning about neuromuscular diseases and how to care for our campers. Through lots of hands-on training, you’ll learn how to dress, feed, transfer, and care for your camper for the week of camp. It’s also a great time to ask questions and learn who your resources will be during the week of camp.
Don’t miss out on the magic of Camp Promise!