live / 2016

Live Unlimited with MDA's Summer Camp

Live Unlimited with MDA's Summer Camp

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Muscular Dystrophy Association

MDA Summer Camp provides kids with muscular dystrophy and related diseases an opportunity for 'the best week of the year,' where kids are living beyond limits in a place where anything is possible!


Please describe your project proposal.

Kids with muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and related life-threatening diseases face daily challenges that often make “just being a kid” difficult. MDA Summer Camp gives kids ages 6-17 the freedom to be kids with others who are just like them during a life-changing week of fun and friendship. Through the magic of summer camp, MDA offers a world of possibilities to campers — from swimming and horseback riding to zip-lining, adaptive sports and camp dances.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Healthcare access
  • Residents receiving coordinated healthcare services
  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Gateway Cities
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

MDA summer camp is the only camp of its kind, supporting and giving the opportunity to children ages 6-17 to join their peers, also facing similar struggles in life. Children living with muscular dystrophy and related life-threatening diseases face daily challenges that often make it difficult to ‘just be a kid.’ As their muscles progressively get weaker, children may lose basic functions such as walking, dressing, eating, talking or even breathing. MDA Summer Camp gives kids with muscular dystrophy and related diseases a chance to discover new interests while gaining self-confidence, forging lifelong friendships and experiencing the independence of being away from home in an environment where barriers don’t exist. Prevalence over adverse childhood experiences - Some children require 24-hour care from parents or caregivers. However, at our summer camp, kids of all abilities are able to overcome their care needs and takes away the daily stress and pressures they face. This is one week of the year where these kids can truly live unlimited. Prior to their diagnosis, our kids lived uninhibited and were able to lead active lives. Summer camp is an opportunity for them to be active again, with adaptive sports, zip-lining, and swimming. Healthcare access - We are also able to provide these kids with access to amazing healthcare breakthroughs. As a result, our kids are living well into adulthood. MDA is the leading organization for the advancement of progress with muscular dystrophy. In the last 5 years, there have been more research breakthroughs than in the last 20 years combined. A perfect example is the FDA’s approval of Eteplirsen, a drug that is helping children living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy treat symptoms of the disease and slow the progression. These medical breakthroughs give kids the access to the healthcare they need in order to live longer and live stronger. Residents receiving coordinated healthcare services - Additionally, the kids who attend summer camp benefit from MDA’s clinics. These clinics are able to provide specialized health-care to our families in Los Angeles. These clinics are critical to helping our kids live healthier lives. Specialists are able to provide one-on-one care to our families, ensuring each family’s needs are met. Our clinics consist of visits from specialized doctors, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, dietitians, along with a member of our staff to ensure every aspect of the child’s care is being considered. Connect, emotional and social support - Finally, our summer camp provides our kids with the opportunity to be supported emotionally and socially. Many of these kids are the only one at their school in a wheelchair or with braces for their legs. At summer camp, this is the norm. All of our kids are able to feel the support of their peers and build friendships that last a lifetime.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

MDA is a very reputable organization, founded in 1950. Through societal changes, research and funding changes, as well as the annual differences made in those 66 years, MDA remains a strong organization, helping over 4,000 families in the Greater Los Angeles area. As for MDA Summer Camp, each year, our goal is to increase the number of campers, volunteers and sponsorship support. We feel that we have reached our sustainable goals in a few different ways. When campers and counselors provide feedback to the camp staff stating how much they love camp and how great their experience is, we know we have succeeded in setting forth our goal of meeting and exceeding campers and their family’s expectations. Additionally, each year we set a goal for our number of campers and volunteers. This number consistently increases annually. This gives us the quantitative results which correlate with success in our MDA Summer Camp goals.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support