Some campers and counselors don’t like changes to MDA summer camp

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For years, kids from Alabama who suffer from neuromuscular diseases, have gone to summer camp in Jacksons' Gap. But some campers and counselors are upset with changes that the Muscular Dystrophy Association is making to their week.

MDA summer camp gives kids living with neuromuscular diseases a week of fun and freedom. They get to spend time with other kids who are just like them. Chloe Smith, was looking forward to another year of summer fun. “This year would have been my eighth year and final year,” she said.

But the 17-year-old and others were told there won’t be a dedicated MDA Camp week this year. “That’s what everyone’s most upset about,” she said. Instead, they can choose to attend one of two weeks at Camp ASCCA where it’s been for years or they can go to a summer program in one of 29 states, including Tennessee and Georgia.

Chloe said, “I’m fearful that eventually, they’re just going to get rid of all camps nationwide.” But a MDA spokesperson in Atlanta tells me summer camp isn’t going way. They’re just giving families more choices and using staff and support personnel at the camps.

Chloe Smith is more concerned about other kids than herself. “I am,” she said. “That really bugs me a lot.” And while the decision may not be what Chloe and everybody wants, she knows in life, change is inevitable. “It’s very disappointing,” she says. “I mean, I’m not really okay with it but I`m not going to stay upset over it.”

Chloe says she's okay with missing this year even though she was looking forward to graduating from camp. But it would also be a sad time. While it's bittersweet, Chloe says she won't have to deal with those emotions now.