Where is Camp Promise?
We have camps in Connecticut, Colorado, and Washington, and you can learn more about each specific site on our Locations page.
All camps offer volunteer opportunities.
Why should I volunteer at Camp Promise?
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.
Can I get volunteer hours for being a volunteer?
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.
What are neuromuscular diseases?
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.
What do volunteers do at camp?
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, Kitchen Staff, 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!
For more details, check out these Day in the Life of a Volunteer testimonies from past volunteers.
When is camp?
It depends on the camp(s) you want to participate in, so check out our Locations 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.
What if I can't come for the whole week, can I still volunteer?
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 cannnot attend the entire week of camp, we recommend you contact our office as we sometimes have single-day volunteer needs.
What will I learn at orientation?
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.
Who can volunteer at Camp Promise?
All volunteers must be at least 16 years old (by the first day of camp), complete an application, understand and accept the Camp Promise mission and Participation Agreement, and be available to attend the entire duration of the camp session, including Orientation which takes place the day before campers arrive.
Learn more about our Volunteer Requirements.
I don't have any experience, can I still volunteer?
Yes! We were all rookies at one point. All of our volunteers, including returning staff, spend the whole day prior to the arrival of our campers at Orientation, getting trained on everything they need to know for camp. So, while helpful, no experience is necessary. Plus, you're never alone. A large percentage of our counselors are returning volunteers, so that means they've got lots of experience and are willing to show you the ropes.
Do you accept out-of-state counselors?
Yes, we love them! With camps all across the country, we even have volunteers who attend multiple camps. While we're unable to provide transportation to or from camp, we'll do our best to match you with a local volunteer who can help you get to and from the airport/train/bus station.
I don't live in the United States, can I still apply?
Yes! We have lots of volunteers (and some campers, too!) that come from other countries. NOTE: Our applications ask all staff to upload proof of health insurance, so if you don't have health insurance coverage in the United States, please contact our office for the necessary paperwork.
How do I apply?
All volunteers applicants must apply online using our secure, dashboard-based application system. It is super user-friendly and we just know you'll love it!
We suggest completing your application as early as possible, as applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Check out the Volunteer Application Process for more information.
When do applications become available?
Applications are posted on our website every winter. We'll announce their availability via email and social media, so make sure to join our mailing list.
When are volunteer applications due?
Check our Volunteer Application Process page for deadlines and due dates. Keep in mind that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so we suggest completing your application as early as possible.
What if my application is late?
Applications completed after the deadline will be added to our Waitlist in the order in which they are completed. This means, that applications are added to our Waitlist only after they are completed. So, if your application is not complete upon the deadline, we encourage you to finish your application as soon as possible.
Out of fairness to all applicants, complete applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received, and we will accept applicants with completed applications from our waitlist based on space availability.
I had a physical exam recently. Can I send you a copy of the results to fulfill the Camp Promise medical form requirement?
Unfortunately, we cannot accept medical forms from other institutions, organizations or medical offices. This is because our camp medical form has specific questions regarding your ability to participate in camp activities. But, there is good news! We have often found that school clinics and doctor offices will fill out our Camp Promise medical form based on your most recent physical, without requiring you to book a new appointment. Once completed you can upload it directly to your application or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your medical form is good for two years, so you volunteers only need a new medical form completed every two years. For returning volunteers, please make sure the information on your medical form is up to date, including medications.
If your question is not answered above, please contact us.