Summer camps for kids with special needs put out the call for volunteers

NOW: Summer camps for kids with special needs put out the call for volunteers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Summer camp is something kids and parents look forward to every year. For some kids with special needs in southeast Wisconsin, those plans may have to be on hold if more volunteers don't step up to help as two organizations put out the call for more volunteers.

"Since we run heavily on volunteers, if we don't have enough, we won't be able to send all of our kids to camp and it means a lot to them, and they've been looking forward to it all summer. I really wouldn't want that to happen," said Lauren Clausing, with Gigi's Playhouse Milwaukee.

Clausing helps kids with Down syndrome and other disabilities live happy and fulfilling lives with Gigi's Playhouse Milwaukee. Part of that this year is their first time at the Jewish Community Center's Rainbow Day Camp. She says such experiences are invaluable to their kids, but could be at risk unless they can find about six new volunteers.

"It's really great to provide opportunities for all children to have this experience of going to camp and having fun in the summer," said Clausing.

Other camps are also struggling, says Lori Mickelson with UW Health's burn program manager. She said their camp for kids who have burn injuries is looking for more volunteers as well.

"This camp provides social confidence and the ability for them to embrace their injury in order for them to navigate life beyond that injury," said Mickelson.

Mickelson added they've seen less volunteers and campers since the pandemic.

"Without the assistance of people who are willing to volunteer their time [less kids can participate]," said Mickelson. 

That's why both Gigi's Playhouse Wisconsin and UW Health are looking for volunteer help.

"We want to take the opportunity to ask our communities for help," said Mickelson.

If you're interested in helping out kids with burn injuries, you can CLICK HERE to learn more about volunteering -- and CLICK HERE to learn more about volunteering with Gigi's Playhouse Milwaukee for their August summer camps and more.

"There's always stuff to be done, so we have something for everybody," said Clausing.

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