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Special Service

Special Service

For decades, one of the pillars of Jesuit High School's summertime community service has been an amazing week at the annual MDA Camp.

Each summer at Rotary's Camp Florida in Brandon, MDA Camp serves as a reunion of sorts. The counselors and the campers, who all have muscular dystrophy, connect (and in many cases re-connect) at what they all say is the highlight of the year and a truly transformative experience. 

This year's camp was from June 18-24, and of the 36 male counselors serving throughout the week, 24 were Jesuit students or alumni. The week was filled with activities such as fishing, swimming, crafts, competitions (including Pinewood Derby), games, a dance, talent show, carnival, and more.

Each counselor is matched up with a camper for the week, supporting them day and night. Some counselors and campers pair up for several consecutive years.

"My second year at MDA Camp was astounding, perhaps even better than my first,'' said Shane Eilers '18, who said he was counting the days until camp started, so much was he looking forward to it. "I honestly get more out of it than my camper does." 

For those who serve, helping to provide a week of enjoyment for the 50 or so youths with muscular dystrophy is a rewarding, impactful experience.

"It was a week I'll never forget," said Brett Nevitt '18. "My camper, Chase, brought out a different side of me, and he made more of an impact on me than I thought anyone could have made.

"The kids with Muscular Dystrophy are just normal kids like we once were." 

Those who served MDA Camp this year, and have also served in previous years, were: George Boghdadi '14, Connor Bracy '11, J.P. Collins '17, Shane Eilers '17, Joe Epstein '15, Myles Hahn '16, Austin Jurado '11, Drew Kamaris '17, Justin Martin '11, Adam Perhosky '08, Ralph Vaello '13, Frankie Wamsley '13, and Sean Wickett '16. 

Serving MDA Camp for the first time this year were: Jason Accardi '19, Edward Bocchino'17, Ryan Cox '17, Brendenn Flynn '18, Gianni Jurado '18, Matt Mainzer '18, Kevin Mendez '18, Brett Nevitt '18, Chandler Rodriguez '17, and Justas Schillinger '17. 

Then there's Andy Wood '92, who has served MDA Camp for a quarter-century. Jesuit's track and field coach and community service director, Wood first started coming when he was a Jesuit student and has continued ever since.

"We're with some of our closest friends – campers and counselors alike,” Wood said. “It has been my privilege watching so many Jesuit young men give of themselves to help make their camper's week truly memorable.”

View a photo slideshow from MDA Camp 2016 below, and a caption for the homepage photo below that:

L-R Back Row: Jason Accardi '19, Myles Hahn '16, Ralph Vaello '13, Luke, Andy Wood '92, Shane Eilers '17, Brandon, Joe Epstein '15, Brendenn Flynn '18, Connor Bracy '11

L-R Middle Row: Alex, Ricky, Frankie Wamsley '13, Jimmy, Mathieu, Sean, Jimmy

L-R: Front Row: Adam Perhosky '08, William

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