Campers and Staff Bring Spirit to Create Magical Retreat in Akron, OH

July 18, 2023

Jett Foundation’s first Camp Promise Retreat of the summer commenced at the Akron Rotary Camp in Ohio from July 6-9, 2023. Sixteen campers, 25 volunteers, and four medical personnel bonded and created memories over games, adaptive sports, arts and crafts, campfires, and much more throughout their stay.

Camp Promise Retreats are geared toward adults ages 18 and older with Duchenne and other forms of muscular dystrophy. This programming allows us to deliver the same magic across all five Camp Promise locations, with some twists for our older population.

In Ohio, campers were split into five color-coded cabins and paired 1-on-1 with counselors. Excitement poured across campers’ favorite activities such as a murder mystery game, “Coffee Talk,” football, a ropes course, virtual reality gaming, a mock nightclub with DJ De’Angelo, and fishing.

Whether you attend Ohio’s retreat as a camper, volunteer, or staff, an important element to the experience is SPIRIT. A “spirit stick” is passed from cabin to cabin by the camp directors who add their cabin color duct tape. Cabins earn the right to the spirit stick through participation, winning competitions, contributing to camp programming, and overall spirit. Congratulations to the blue cabin who had the most spirit stick wins by the end of the retreat!

It is also common that campers experience activities for the first time in their lives at our camp sites. Virtual reality gaming took our campers to new heights in Ohio. Participants experienced skydiving, moon walking, flying an airplane, climbing Mount Everest, and even rode a roller coaster.

Ohio’s Camp Promise Retreat Director Jackie Simcic-Becker shares: “The dream to bring camp and special programs to the 18+ population was to fill a much needed void as our young adults needed support in their transition to their adult lives. Camp Promise Retreat allows campers to learn about everyday living needs and hobbies. Sometimes, they are presented by guests, but also presented by campers and volunteers who have first-hand experience in the topics being discussed.”

She also says, “Camp offers the opportunity to build friendships, spend time in a recreational setting, experience first-time activities, learn new hobbies and life skills, and provide caregivers with a much needed break. While volunteers give so much to the camper to participate in activities and care for their everyday needs, volunteers are rewarded with the opportunity to help others and make a difference in the camper’s life.”

Jett Foundation’s Director of Programs Alexa Tinsley made her way to Ohio’s retreat for the second year in a row. She says, “My second year at the Ohio retreat was, even more than last year, such a beautiful experience. Getting to see all our campers again, and getting to meet new ones was a truly special experience. From the ropes course to the boat rides, being able to see campers truly get out of their comfort zone, grow, and connect with others is why camp is so magical. Being able to have this opportunity for the older age group is so important, especially our educational sessions to help guide them through life. It was a great week with great people!”

Camp experiences would not be possible without our dedicated campers, volunteers, and major sponsors. Thank you to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Flatley Foundation, Sarepta Therapeutics, Alexion Charitable Foundation, Italfarmaco, and PTC Therapeutics for their continued support.

Camp Promise will embark on another retreat for our Arizona campers from July 26-30, 2023. We will also host week-long camps in Colorado and Pennsylvania, as well as a virtual Camp Promise Connect week from September 15-18, 2023.

To view many pictures from Camp Promise Retreat – Ohio, please visit our Facebook photo album.

Experience the magic this summer!

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Your gift helps Jett Foundation provide programming and opportunities, such as Camp Promise, to many families impacted by Duchenne muscular dystrophy each year.

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