Moving the Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp out of Kansas has some families concerned

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – This year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association has decided a change would be better for the campers.

So, the camp is moving from Linwood, Kansas 200 miles south, to Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Missouri.

“It’s four hours away,” said Xander Kawabata, a MDA camper. That could be a pretty big drive for some people that have to- they may not have as much money for gas.”

Wichita friends Grant Rader and Kawabata have been going to Muscular Dystrophy camp for several years.

“When I heard it I was a little sad, because it doesn’t feel like MDA Camp because we’re moving again,” said Rader.

They aren’t happy about the move, but the MDA says it’s necessary, and will allow them to accommodate more children.

“Camp Barnabas is an amazing facility that offers an opportunity for us to serve more families overtime,” said Monica Meriwether, associate director of care and clinical services for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “We are adding another week. So we’re adding a camp experience for two weeks this year. We also have the ability to have medical staff there that are trained.”

The new camp have its own counselors. MDA counselors can attend, but must pay a $250 fee. Grant’s mom says a new location and new counselors could be an issue.

“Sending him to some other place that’s not familiar at all with neuromuscular kids, I just don’t think is right,” said Gina Rader. “Not only would he have to get used to a whole new camp, but all new staff. and change is very hard.”

Camp counselor Mackenzie Balthazor agrees.

“I’ve watched camper counselor pairs grow up together,” she said. “Counselors that have had their campers for eight, nine, 10 years .”

MDA officials say their goal is to provide the best experience for campers.

So, if they have issues with things like distance, they want to work with families to find a solution.


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