Camp Promise Spotlight series w/ Molly Murphy: Meet Cal!

Welcome back to the Camp Promise Spotlight series. This month we are talking with long time CPE camper, Calvin “Cal” Quitzau. Cal has been involved at CPE as long as I have, and he’s someone who really exemplifies what camp is all about: breaking from our boundaries and just having fun. He’s always up for something, whether it be an activity, hanging out… or the well meaning prank. Oh, and if you need hot sauce, Cal’s your man!

Camp Profile:

  • Name: Calvin “Cal” Quitzau
  • Camper or Volunteer: Camper
  • Camps Attended: East and Connect
  • Years in Attendance: 7 years total (5 years in person, 2 years virtual)
  • Cabin(s): Green, Orange, Red

Favorite Things:

  • Favorite TV Show: The Grand Tour
  • Favorite Food: Buffalo Chicken Tenders
  • Favorite Game: Minecraft
  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Talk or Text?: Talk

Q. I know you graduated a few years ago, what have you been up to since? I graduated High School in June 2020. Currently I am on the PAAC (PPMD Adult Advisory Committee) and I have been learning how to manage my care through the use of different state run programs like PCA. 

Q. Can you tell us a little more about PAAC? What do you do on it? The PAAC (Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Adult Advisory Committee) is a group that focuses on advocating and supporting people with muscular dystrophy. On the PAAC we have daily meetings over zoom to discuss living, working, advocacy, projects, and a lot of the time we just simply support each other in conversation. Our latest project in the PAAC has been the life hacks project where we are putting a list together with all the life hacks we do in our daily lives to accomplish different day to day tasks. Which we plan to present at the annual PPMD conference.   

Q. What’s something you would recommend people know or do when trying to manage their care? When trying to manage care I really recommend hiring more than one caregiver/PCA. By doing this you can make sure that no one gets burnt out and that you’ll always have someone available to help. 

Q. What are some of your hobbies you would like to share with people? I love building computers. I find the whole process of picking out the parts and putting a computer together really fun and rewarding. My second hobby is reading and watching History. All the World Wars are fascinating to me.

Q. What got you into building computers? I have always liked hands-on activities and had an interest in playing video games which required a gaming computer. But as I quickly came to find out, computers are not cheap and it’s more cost effective to build your own. I thought building a computer was way out of my expertise and forgot about it. Fast forward a year or so later, I hear that my uncle and cousin had both built computers. I saw that they managed to do it and I was like “why can’t I?”. Even if I had to do it a little bit differently by requiring physical assistance. 

Q. How long have you been building computers? 6 years.

Q. What’s a cool skill you have? I have a pretty good tolerance for very spicy food.

Q. How did you hear about camp? From my Mom who found out about it from the Jett Foundation.

Q. What are some things you think are important for a first time CPE camper to know? Great question. I am fully aware that every camper is nervous for their first time at camp. I was too! Three very important things to know are…  1. Your Counselor is there to help you! Don’t be shy with your needs, it’s okay to need help.  2. Introduce yourself to others. “Hi, my name is Cal and I have DMD. What about you?”. I know it seems like an odd way to introduce yourself but it has worked for me throughout my years at camp. 3. Use the bathroom before camp activities. I’ve been “that guy” who had to roll out of camp activities before to use the bathroom and I missed out. Some activities during the week only happen once and you don’t want to miss out because duty called. Sorry Molly! What is a camp promise interview without mentioning poop?

Q. What are some of your favorite camp memories? One of my favorite memories from camp is when Red Cabin and I roasted our Cabin leader Nash in the talent show. I couldn’t get through it without laughing! My second favorite memory from Camp is when Monica and I from Red Cabin played a prank on Jenna by surprising her with a worm we found on the ground… She ended up screaming and running away! Turns out she doesn’t like worms?

Q. What keeps you coming back to camp year after year? All the friends that I have met throughout the years during camp keep me coming back. Imagine spending a week away on vacation with all your closest friends!  

Q. Last question, how would you describe camp in one phrase? What does camp mean to you? Heaven on Earth. To me, camp means a break from the reality of living with a neuromuscular disease.