Kansas families saddened by muscular dystrophy camp’s move to Missouri

LINWOOD — A summer camp for children with muscular dystrophy is moving from Kansas to Missouri, causing confusion for families on both sides of the state line.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced Feb. 1 the merger of annual camps at Tall Oaks in Linwood, and Springfield, Missouri. The new regional camp will now be held at Camp Barnabas, a Christian ministry at Teas Trail near Purdy, Mo., the Wichita Eagle reported .

Families, campers and camp counselors in both states have expressed sadness and confusion about the decision.

“It’s kind of a mess, really,” said Alex Hinken, a camp counselor from Columbia. “They tried to sugarcoat it, but once you get down to it, they just canceled our camp out of nowhere.”

The association said it’s looking to improve the camping experience for its families nationwide.

“We had no problems or complaints there (at Tall Oaks),” said Monica Meriwether, the association’s director of family support and clinical care. “We just outgrew it. We were wanting to serve more kids across that territory, and Tall Oaks did not offer up that opportunity to do that.”

But those in the Kansas City area are now faced with extra fees, longer travel distances, uncertainty about long-term camper-counselor relationships and questions about the new venue’s religious mission. Hinken said he’ll go wherever his camper wants to go, but that the distance will be difficult for families.

“A lot of our campers’ families are already struggling to get by as it is,” he said. “They don’t have the time to drive their camper all the way across the state and then come back and pick them up.”