Camp Promise

FAQs- Campers

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Camper FAQs

Eligibility Questions:

Who can attend Camp Promise?

We accept male and female individuals who are 6 years of age or older and have muscular dystrophy or a similar neuromuscular disorder. This list includes, but is not limited to: Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy, myotonic muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Freidreich's Ataxia, Ataxia Telangiectasia, Pompe disease, and spinal muscular atrophy.

Don't see your camper's diagnosis listed here? For eligibility information, learn more about Who We Serve or contact us to discuss your diagnosis.

At what age do campers "age out" or graduate from Camp Promise?

The short answer—they don't. Camp Promise has no upper age limit for its campers and accepts campers of any age, making us the only camp in the country specifically for people of all ages with neuromuscular disorders.

Do you accept female campers?

Yes! We accept male and female campers, ages 6 and above, with a qualifying diagnosis. We have separate male and female cabins and we make sure to touch base with each camper and family prior to camp to make sure they're comfortable with their cabin and counselor assignment. Learn more about Who We Serve or contact us if you have further questions.

General Questions:

How much does it cost to attend?

Thanks to our generous donors, supporters, and volunteers, Camp Promise is provided FREE-of-charge to all campers. We encourage everyone attending camp to make a donation if they are able, as this lets us to accept as many campers as space and volunteers allow. Please visit our Donate page to make your contribution today.

Who will manage campers' medical needs at camp?

At Camp Promise, we provide a medical team of nurses whose job it is to ensure all campers stays safe and healthy while they're having fun. Sometimes we also have respiratory therapists, EMTs, PTs and/or OTs on our medical team, too. Our medical staff will review each camper's application prior to camp to make sure they understand the camper's healthcare needs. If any questions arise, they will be in touch with you prior to arrival at camp. They will also be present at check-in on the first day of camp for you to meet and ask questions of. Throughout the week of camp, these nurses will be responsible for providing first aid, administering medications, and taking care of sick or injured participants.

Is transportation provided by camp?

Camp Promise does not provide transportation to and/or from camp, but we can work with you to explore your possibilities for arranging transportation. Just contact us!

Will I have my own counselor for the week?

Yes! We provide a 1:1 camper-to-counselor ratio so that each camper can be assigned their own one-on-one counselor for the week of camp. All of our counselors are highly screened volunteers who complete a competitive application process, including interviews, reference checks, and criminal history background checks.

Prior to camp, all counselors and volunteers complete intense orientation and training sessions, during which they learn about neuromuscular diseases and how to care for someone with a neuromuscular disease. Our training includes, but is not limited to lifting and transferring, pushing wheelchairs, and providing personal care such as assisting with feeding, using the bathroom, getting dressed. Additionally, our counselors are engaging, enthusiastic, and motivated individuals who will be your camper's buddy for the week.

Can I bring my own caregiver to camp with me?

Yes! All caregivers are required to apply using the same application process as all of our volunteers and counselors. This include completing an online application, submitting medical documents, completing a phone interview, and passing background and reference checks. Click here to learn more about the volunteer application process.

And, don't worry if your caregiver is of the opposite gender! Male and female campers have their own cabins, but some cabins have co-ed counselors, while others have single-gender counselors. We do our best to accomodate our campers and their caregivers, so we will work with you and your caregiver to make sure you are both comfortable at camp.

Can I pick my counselor?

Counselors and campers are matched up based on a variety of variables including camper and counselor preferences, experience, cabin layout, and overall camp staffing needs. So, we do our best to fulfill campers' requests for a specific counselor, and there is even a special spot in your application for sharing your preferences with us. We understand that some campers want to bring their own counselor, and that some camper-counselor pairs are "forever pairs," so just be sure to include this in your application. While we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your request, we'll try our best!

Can I be in the same cabin as my friend?

We love that friends attend Camp Promise together! There are multiple factors that determine cabin assignments, including bed capacity of each cabin, cabin layout, and how many campers are enrolled in a given session. Please let us know in your interview if you have a bunk-mate request and we'll do our best to accommodate it.

What activities do you do at camp?

Our days at camp are filled with traditional camp activities, like swimming fishing, boating, arts and crafts, nature, sports and wheelchair soccer, dances, pranks, etc. However, we also like to mix things up and provide unique and creative activities. While our programming is ever evolving, in the past we've done wheelchair accessible hot air ballooning, adaptive bicycling, live-band karaoke, and more.

Sometimes you'll hang out and do activities with your cabin, and at other times we'll do things all together as a group. For example, camp-wide activities have included scavenger hunts, music trivia, dueling pianos, improv performances, dances, etc. In general, we have a flexible schedule that allows campers to chose what activities they wish to engage in, and there's plenty of time for just hanging out with friends and cabin mates.

We also have a Transitions Program for our 16+ campers that promotes independence and personal decision making. In the past this has included sessions on self-defense tailored to our campers' needs and abilities, adaptive technology, dating and relationships, attending college, and applying for jobs.

For more information about the day-to-day schedule, check out our photo gallery and Day In The Life of a Camper testimonies.

What kind of facilities are there at camp?

Our three camps take place at different facilities (because they're in three different states!) and each one has its own unique amenities. All three camp facilities are 100% wheelchair accessible, and each has cabins or lodges for sleeping, a dining hall for meals, an arts and crafts shack, campfire pits, and accessible pathways. However, some of the facilities have an indoor pool while others have an outdoor pool, and one is on a river, another has a pond, and the third camp is on a bay. Some have fishing and boating, while others have fishing or boating, and some have archery while others have accessible climbing/zip-lining towers.

Contact us for more information about the camp you're interested in and we'll be happy to share details and photos with you.

Can I only come for half of the week?

All campers are required to check-in on the first day of camp, and once camp begins we ask everyone, including campers and staff, to remain on site for the full duration of camp. This helps ensure the quality of our program and allows us to serve the community to our maximum capacity. What we mean is that priority is given to those who can attend the entire week, as we wouldn't want someone on our waitlist to miss out on the full experience of Camp Promise.

That being said, we know emergencies arrive and therefore we examine all requests on a case by case basis.

But don't worry, even if you can't attend the entire week of camp, we'd still love to see you on Visitor's Day! Just contact us to schedule your visit. If you have a specific question, please contact our office.

Why do we prioritize campers who can't go to other camps?

We highly value the summer camp experience and believe everyone should get the opportunity to go each summer. However, not all camps accept all campers, so in order to help everyone get a camp experience, we prioritize serving those who are unable to attend other camp programs. And, because many camps do not accept campers older than 18, Camp Promise often receives many applications from young adults.

If you are under 18 and worried that there may not be a spot for you, fear not! We love our young campers and have designated spots for younger campers and accept many every summer. Every year we try to accomodate as many campers as space and resources allow.

As someone who may attend multiple camps, you understand the value of a week at camp and we hope you understand why our priority is given to those who are unable to attend other camps. We just want our campers to continue to have a camp opportunity even as they get older.

Application Questions:

How do I apply?

All of our campers apply online! We offer a secure, online camp application that is dashboard-based, giving you the power to:

  • Login at any time to work on your application
  • Save your application and return to it as many times as you like
  • Track your progress and see how much of your application is left to complete
  • Download the necessary paperwork, complete it, and upload it right back to the system
  • Check the status of your application any time you want

The application process for campers involves completing an online application, submitting a medical form signed by your doctor, and chatting with us on the phone to ensure we know exactly what you need to be comfortable and safe at camp. Click here to learn more about our camper application process.

What happens if my application is late and submitted after the deadline?

Applications submitted and completed after the deadline will be placed on our Waitlist. Only applications that are fully completed are eligible for our Waitlist. So, if you miss the deadline, keep working on your application, completing it as soon as possible, and submit it as soon as it is done. We will then notify you if you have been placed on the Waitlist.

Out of fairness to all applicants, applications on the Waitlist will be reviewed in the order received and accepted based on space availability. Our recommendation: Don't put off your application, start yours today!

I don't have an ID card, is that ok?

Our camper application asks applicants to submit an ID card. However, if you are younger than 18 and don't have one, that’s okay! We will ask for a recent photo of you and other identifying information.

If you are 18 or older and don’t have a government-issued identification card (driver’s license, state-issued identification card, passport), a suitable alternative is a school ID or library card.

Getting Ready For Camp:

Can I visit camp to see what it's like before attending as a camper?

Yes! We love introducing Camp Promise to new campers and their families. Since we only run 3 weeks of camp each summer (1 week in each location), please contact us and we will work with you to schedule a time that is convenient for you and for camp. If it's before camp, we can set up a site tour for you to check out the cabins, dining hall, the general camp grounds, and more. And, if you'd like to visit a session of Camp Promise during the summer, we can personally give you a tour of our facilities, introduce you to our leadership staff and counselors, show you some of our programming, and let you see what it's like to be a Camp Promise camper. We often have a Visitors Day at each camp during the summer for just this purpose. Just give us a call to set up your visit, we can't wait to meet you!

What should I pack?

After submitting your application and being accepted to camp, you will received a Welcome Packet containing important information like what to pack, a list of camp theme days, and driving directions.

Campers are asked to bring any and all medical equipment they use at home so that their time at camp can be as comfortable and safe as possible. This may include wheelchairs, hoyer lifts and slings, shower chairs, braces, walkers/strollers, pillows, wedges, etc. Don't worry, we have room for it all!

We also encourage everyone to pack costumes and accessories to match each day's theme. Rest assured, you'll receive your Welcome Packet with enough notice to stock up on your themed attire!

My child is starting to transition to a wheelchair, should I send it to camp for the week?

Our number one goal is to make sure our campers are getting the most out of the week. We find that in a space like camp where there's lots of space and a large campus, our campers cover more ground daily than they typically do at home. We want it to be easy for campers to move around independently, so sending a powerchair, scooter, or stroller often helps campers keep up with their peers and get the most out of camp. If you can fit it in your car, we've got room for it!

If your question is not answered above, please contact us.