PADDOCK LAKE (WKOW) -- Dozens of children were undaunted by their physical challenges as they played football, bowled, swam and competed in games as rival cabin members at a special summer camp sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
MDA Summer Camp took place in a pristine setting in Kenosha County, with kids from Madison, Milwaukee, Janesville and other parts of southern Wisconsin attending.
Brother and sister Danny Hoppe, 12, and Claire Hoppe, 6, of Madison, attended camp for the first time.
The siblings have the muscle-wasting disease mitochondrial myopathy. Danny relies exclusively on a wheelchair and Claire needs one when she becomes tired.
But at MDA Summer Camp, with the help of volunteer counselors, the Hoppe children and other campers dive right into activities, with safety, competition and participation stressed.
"I just love seeing the joy they get out of all the activities," Claire Hoppe's counselor Lenel Brown said.
"It's all about competition," said Danny Hoppe's counselor Kevin Mueller. "Big thing is getting the kids involved."
"They go from cabin to cabin together," said counselor Monica "Mo" Martin.
"They've already a good camaraderie. So in sports, it's about being on a team and working together and encouraging each other."
In addition to the competitive games, campers do arts and crafts, camp skits, and leave their camp cabins on one night to sleep under the stars in tents.
"I like swimming and arts and crafts," Claire said.
"I'm going to come back to camp actually again!"
While campers rave about the experience and friendship of MDA Summer Camp, it has an equal impact on the counselors.
"I get to be a little more wild and crazy down here than in the real world," Mueller said.
"The kids are great. It's honestly the best week of my year."
Labor Day weekend, WKOW27 will once again broadcast the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. In addition to helping medical research and providing patient care, your pledges during the Telethon will help send children to MDA Summer Camp.