Information for Volunteers

The stroke retreat camp is staffed by healthcare volunteers (doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, etc.) and those who have special skills and training, or experience with stroke survivors.

Volunteers provide assistance with recreational activities and activities of daily living in accordance with their skills, interests and capabilities. Volunteers will also have time to enjoy the relaxing camp setting and camp activities.

This year’s camp will be held at Camp Cavell in Lexington, Michigan.

As a stroke retreat volunteer, your job is to provide assistance so that stroke survivors and families can have a care-free “mini-vacation” while having their needs met in a structured camp environment.

Volunteers should be at least 18 years old.

As a volunteer, you will receive two nights lodging and meals from Friday dinner to Sunday brunch at no cost to you, and a sense of accomplishment after participation in this remarkable event.

First, review the Stroke Retreat Volunteer Orientation. After reviewing, please fill out the proper application form. Fax or mail the packet to Sheila Daley as directed on the forms. Complete and return the orientation quiz.

Additional forms can be found here.

  • Volunteer responsibilities is shown

    As a stroke retreat volunteer, some of your responsibilities include:

    • Areas should be set up about 15 minutes before the event.
    • Each area should have a minimum of two volunteers.
    • In case of emergency, one volunteer should seek help while other volunteers remain to assist participants.
    • Participate and monitor events for problems.
    • Act safely at all times.
    • The suggested number of volunteers per task is a guideline. More volunteers are welcome, if available.
    • If the weekend is hot, remind campers to stay hydrated.
    • If you or your campers leave camp for any reason, make sure to let Sheila Daley know.
    • Report all safety issues or illnesses, no matter how small, to the medical staff.
    • If you’re a new volunteer, experienced volunteers will be identified to help you.
    • If you have questions about your assignment, please ask.If you need to change your schedule for some reason, be sure to let Sheila Daley know

    Arts & crafts (2-3 volunteers per session)

    Supplies: craft kits, glue, scissors, tools, craft items.

    • In order to have enough supplies for everyone, we can only provide one craft item at a time per camper. If campers would like to try an additional project, they must complete their first project before receiving another kit.
    • Gather supplies and put out a selection to use. Do not put all supplies out at once, as too much can overwhelm the campers or get wasted this way.
    • Set up craft tables to allow wheelchair access to the tables.
    • Sort craft kits by type. Distribute these to campers. Do not put craft kits out for the taking by campers.
    • Assist campers with finding a project they prefer – first come, first served.
    • Assist campers with projects, as needed.
    • Make sure campers finish the project they’ve started before moving to another project. If a project attempted is too difficult and causing frustration for the camper, they may be given an easier project to try.
    • Keep craft area clean and organized.
    • Campers may not go into supply boxes themselves or help themselves to materials. If something is needed, please get it for them.
    • When leaving the area, make sure supplies are cleaned up and stored away.

    T-shirt decoration volunteers (2- 4 volunteers per session)

    Note: T-shirt painting is offered on Friday only, as it takes time for the paint to dry well enough to pack t-shirts into luggage on Sunday.

    Supplies: T-shirts, fabric paint, paint trays, brushes, paints, sponges, card board, paper towels. These should be located in labeled boxes.

    • In order to have enough supplies for everyone, we can only provide ONE item to paint per camper. Campers may use an item of their own if they would like to paint an additional project.
    • Gather supplies and put out a selection to use. Do not put all supplies out at once, as too much can overwhelm the campers or get wasted this way.
    • Set up craft tables to allow wheelchair access to the tables.
    • Set up a table or two for placement of completed projects so that they can dry.
    • Sort t-shirts by size.
    • Place cardboard inside t-shirt in the area to be painted, so that paint does not soak through and spoil the shirt.
    • Assist campers with finding a size they prefer – first come, first served.
    • Other items may be available for painting, such as visors, aprons, etc. Participants may have one of these instead of a t-shirt.
    • Make sure campers finish the project they’ve started before moving to another project.
    • Keep craft area clean and organized.
    • Campers may not go into supply boxes themselves or help themselves to materials. If something is needed, please get it for them.
    • When leaving the area, make sure supplies are cleaned up and stored away.

    Craft room clean up (Sunday -- 2 volunteers):

    • Return all craft items to proper boxes.
    • Make sure campers have picked up their crafts to take home.
    • Leave room in good working order for the next group coming to camp.

    Craft donations (2-3 volunteers):

    • Collect donations for prizes and crafts.
    • Sort into like groups.
    • Put craft supplies in craft room.
    • Put prize donations in storage boxes in the room behind the dining room.
    • Large volume items can be set out on a welcome table at registration.
    • Education materials should be put on the education table.

    Beach activities

    Beach party (4 volunteers for set-up; 4 - 8 volunteers for activities):
    • Assure camp lifeguard is on duty before anyone goes in water or in boats.
    • Every boater must wear a lifejacket.
    • At the end of the event, return supplies and leave area clean.
    • No splash-fights from boats without special approval.

    The goal of the beach party is to enjoy the beach area, with games, water activities and relaxation. The responsibilities of the volunteers are to help keep people safe while enjoying the activities.

    Beach area (2 volunteers to set up area, creating a fun environment on the beach, and encouraging fun of participants)
    • Gather supplies:
      • Decorations
      • CD player
      • Sun screen (please distribute)
      • Beach toys (balls, Frisbees, water balloons)
      • Water melon
      • Water bottles or jugs/cups
      • Paper plates
      • Knife (keep in safe place while not in use)
      • Napkin
    Water sport set-up (2 volunteers to check water sports equipment are in place and used):
    • Life jackets
    • Canoes
    • Kayaks
    Water assistance and supervision (Therapists -- 2-3 volunteers to help people enjoy water area and help people into canoes):
    • Access ramps in place
    • Life jackets
    Canoe rides (2-3 volunteers):
    • Assure that use of boats is ok with lifeguard. A second lifeguard may be necessary or participants may need to alternate boats with water activity.
    • manage rowing in boat.
      • Boat 1
      • Boat 2
      • Boat 3

    Cabins

    Cabin assistance (all volunteers within your cabin and/or nurse assigned to your cabin):

    Cabin assistance involves identifying and addressing the needs of the campers within your cabin.

    • Check for early risers and evaluate assistance needed. Notify Sheila Daley so that she can assign early riser assistance.
    • Determine which volunteer will be responsible.
    • Obtain any assistive devices or supplies from the health lodge.
    • Act as a resource to campers.
    • Be observant for issues and bring them immediately to the attention of the stroke camp director or medical director.
    • There is a refrigerator in the health lodge for insulin, or other supplies that need to be kept cold. Be sure to label container or plastic zip-lock bag with camper's name.
    • Medications should not be left out. Please put them away in luggage or purses.
    • If there is a need that cannot be addressed by you or your volunteer cabin mates, let Sheila Daley or the medical team know.
    Cabin clean up (all volunteers in cabins):
    • We need to be out of cabins by 11:30 a.m.
    • Offer assistance to pack cars early in the morning.
    • See that trash is placed outside, cabins are swept and cabin supplies and borrowed linen/shower chairs to Southwood unit house.   
    Cabin set up (1-2 volunteers per cabin):
    • See checklist.

    Games

    Board games (1-4 volunteers):
    • Set up tables and chairs if necessary.
    • Gather supply of board games from storage.
    • Assist participants in finding a game they would like to play.
    • Play along!
    • After play is completed, check games to assure that they are complete with no missing pieces; return games to storage.
    Games night (5 volunteers):
    • Set up dining hall for playing games:
      • Cards
      • Bingo
      • Pictionary or other group games
      • Children's games
    • Set up prizes table (Set aside some prizes of varying values for persons doing other activities.)
    • Call bingo numbers.
    • Interact with group to create a festive atmosphere.
    • Prize winners are after each Bingo or game round, or randomly through session, depending on volume of prizes. Ring bell or use other mechanism to temporarily stop play.
    • Use play-offs for ties, if necessary. You can use deck of cards, high card drawn.
      • Choose various categories (be creative). Examples:
        • First time at camp
        • Youngest at table
        • Oldest at table
        • Birthday closest to camp date
        • Birthday closest to Jan. 1
        • Most children
        • Most grandchildren
        • Caregiver that has been care-giving the longest
        • Last camper to arrive in cabin
        • Highest score (cards or games)
        • Lowest score (cards or games)
        • Pass out playing cards - high card, low card, jokers
        • "Booby prizes" for non-winners
    • Make and serve popcorn (if available).
    • Put away games pieces, insuring games are complete. Return games to storage.

    Indoor activities

    Afternoon quiet time (3-4 volunteers)
    • Circulate around camp to see if there are any needs for assistance.
    • If campers want to return to their cabins, offer to assist.
    • Stay with stroke survivors in cabin while they nap if they are not independent in their functioning.
    • Encourage caregivers to get some respite.

    Note : Craft activities and games are available during afternoon quiet time.

    Learn about the Great Lakes (2 volunteers):
    • This event is provided by Camp Cavell personnel. If personnel do not arrive to provide talk, contact camp office.
    • Volunteers will assist with personal needs of survivors, as needed.
    Massage (1-2 volunteers per time period -- 2-3-hour shifts):
    • Help to transport persons needing assistance to and from massage in Northwood cabin.

    Note: Interested volunteers can work with massage staff to assist and learn about massage techniques. Notify Sheila Daley in advance, or see Julia or Len to arrange.

    Mealtime assist (1-2 volunteers per table):
    • Pick up table trays of food from kitchen, and take to table.
    • Food supply is ample. If supplies run out, let kitchen staff know what is needed.
    • Assist with cutting, serving or other needs.
    • Get beverages for stroke survivors.
    • Bus dishes, glasses and silverware to sink in kitchen.
    • Return leftovers to kitchen.
    Movies (1-2 volunteers):
    • Set up large TV/VCR.
    • Get movies.
    • Take vote about which movie to see.
    • Take popcorn to movie-watchers.
    • Take a selection of prizes and distribute.
    • Assist survivors with personal needs, as needed.
    • Assist survivors back to cabins, as needed.
    Snack setup (1 volunteer for Saturday and 1 volunteer for Sunday):
    • Verify that snacks are available in dining hall at designated times.
    • When needed, obtain snack foods from the health lodge and bring to dining hall.
    Talent Show (2 volunteers):
    • Set up chairs (for large group) facing stage.
    • Circulate sign-up sheet for "talent" and encourage participation.
    • Organize list to vary the acts presented.
    • Set up CD/tape player.

    Note: Volunteers are welcome to perform. Any Camp Cavell Idols out there?

    Rainy Day activities
    • Water-toss on porch
    • Dance party
    • Name your cabin contest
    • Musical chairs
    • Photo show from past years
    • Watermelon eating contest
    • Beach volley ball (outside in light rain)
    • Hula hoop contest
    • Toss into target/ladder ball
    • Find the list scavenger hunt

    Outdoor activities

    Bonfire (2-3 volunteers Friday and/or Saturday):
    • Never put any chemicals including gasoline or lighter fluid on the fire.
    • Obtain a bucket of water, a bucket of damp sand, and a blanket to have near the fire pit for an emergency.
    • Keep people back from fire pit.
    • Supervise marshmallow roasting.
    • Maintain a safe environment at all times.
    • Find assistance for any campers that need help to go their cabins.
    • Offer bug spray to campers to prevent mosquito bites.
    • Supplies:
      • Dry wood
      • Kindling
      • Fire starter tool
      • Bucket of sand
      • Bucket of water
      • Blanket
      • Marshmallows
      • Chocolate bars
      • Graham crackers
      • S'more maker kit
      • Long skewer forks for marshmallow roasting
      • Song books
      • Musical instruments
      • Wet wipes
    Camp photos (1-2 volunteers who are good with a camera):

    Note: This year, group shots of cabin residents will be taken instead of one group shot. We think that it is too hard to see faces in the large group shot.

    • Set up preferred photo time for campers in each cabin.
    • Meet campers and shoot a few group shots outside their cabin (or in a location of their preference) at designated time.
    • Have camera ready at various activities, and shoot posed or candid photos.
    • Assure that camera battery is charged and ready between events.
    • Do NOT take camera into the lake or on boats.
    Hayrides (2 volunteers per wagon):
    • If weather is cold, get several blankets from health lodge to use if people get cold.
    • If weather is hot, encourage fluids prior to and after ride.
    • Assist participants to get on and off ride.
    • Maintain safety on ride.
    • In cold or rainy weather, make sure participants have appropriate clothing.
    • Assist with personal needs, as identified.
    Tai Chi (leader and 1-2 volunteers):
    • Assist people to the lawn area if weather is dry, or in the lodge if weather is wet.
    • Participate and monitor for problems.
    • Leader will lead exercises.

    Morning activities

    • Early Riser assistance (2-6 volunteers)
      Note: This service is for those who like to get up and go early, before other cabin mates may want to wake up. Some like to get up and get an early morning snack or enjoy the peaceful natural surrounding before others wake. There is often a beautiful sunrise, and some people like to wake to see it.
      • Contact early riser to establish wake-up time and needs.
      • Meet early riser in their cabin, and quietly provide assistance as needed.
      • Assist with wheelchair transport to lodge, dining hall, or other location, as needed. If stroke survivor is not independent, provide companionship for activity.

    Evening activities

    • Nighttime Quiet Time (2-3 volunteers):
      • Check beach area, porch, lodge, dining hall for activity and assure that campers are not in need of assistance in these areas (1-2 volunteers).
      • Circulate in bonfire area and in cabin areas to assure that campers are not in need of assistance in these areas (1 volunteer).

    Special sessions

    • Caregiver session (leader and 1-2 volunteers):
      • Set up chairs for caregiver session.
      • Leader will guide the caregivers in the discussion of topics.
      • Leader will remind group that discussion is private and is not to be shared outside of group.
      • Volunteers will facilitate discussion by initiating topics as needed, asking questions, and encouraging input.
      • Volunteers will support caregivers when sharing sensitive information and expressing emotions.
      • Volunteers will assist in maintaining a private environment for caregivers by preventing interruptions and outside intrusion.
    • Q & A on stroke (leader and 2-3 volunteers):
      Note: Doctor/nurse or similar combination of volunteers from any discipline are encouraged to participate in the Q & A session.
      • Set up chairs.
      • Leader will encourage questions, and have topics to discuss if questions are not forthcoming.
      • Volunteers will help to facilitate discussion by initiating topics as needed, asking questions, and participate in responding to questions.
      • Volunteers will assist with personal needs of survivors as needed during group session (i.e., toileting, adjusting positions, etc.)
      • Stroke Survivors Session (leader and 1-2 volunteers):
      • Set up chairs for survivor session. Allow room for wheelchairs.
      • Leader will guide the survivors in the discussion of topics.
      • Leader can use time to provide educational information, if desired.
      • Leader will remind group that discussion is private when people share about themselves, and is not to be shared outside of group.
      • Volunteers will facilitate discussion by initiating topics as needed, asking questions, and encouraging input.
      • Volunteers will support survivors when sharing sensitive information and expressing emotions.
      • Volunteers will assist in maintaining a private environment for survivors by preventing interruptions and outside intrusion.
      • Volunteers will assist with personal needs of survivors as needed during group session (i.e., toileting, adjusting positions, etc.)
    • Stroke Survivors Session (leader and 1-2 volunteers):
      • Set up chairs for survivor session. Allow room for wheelchairs.
      • Leader will guide the survivors in the discussion of topics.
      • Leader can use time to provide educational information, if desired.
      • Leader will remind group that discussion is private when people share about themselves, and is not to be shared outside of group.
      • Volunteers will facilitate discussion by initiating topics as needed, asking questions, and encouraging input.
      • Volunteers will support survivors when sharing sensitive information and expressing emotions.
      • Volunteers will assist in maintaining a private environment for survivors by preventing interruptions and outside intrusion.
    • Stroke Survivor Workout (2 volunteers):
      • Gather TV/VCR and workout tape.
      • Set up videotape and chairs in designated area.
      • Set up 5-8 chairs in semi-circle by the TV.
      • Assist stroke survivors to seats.
      • Start tape at appointed time.
      • Encourage stroke survivors to participate in exercises.
      • Observe for problems.

    Other activities

    • Education table (2 volunteers):
      • Set up table in lodge.
      • Put TV/VCR on table.
      • Put video tapes and brochures on table in an organized fashion.
      • Check table throughout the weekend to keep organized and replenish supplies.
    • Name tags (2-3 volunteers throughout registration):
      Supplies: Craft items, scissors, markers, stick-on letters, ribbon, string, glue sticks
      • Gather supplies and put out a selection of materials to use for making nametags. Do not put all supplies out at once, as too much can overwhelm campers or get wasted.
      • Keep supplies replenished, as needed.
      • Assist campers in making a name tag using craft materials supplied.
      • Encourage all campers to wear their name tags throughout the weekend. It is fun and helpful to use people's names when we speak to each other.
    • Registration (3-8 volunteers):
      • Work as a team to check in campers, check documentation and direct campers to their cabins.
      • Identify campers who need assistance and identify volunteer to help.
      • Provide orientation to new campers.
    • Worship Service Setup (2 volunteers):
      • Organize chairs facing stage in lodge (large group).
      • Set up CD/tape player.
      • Gather list of persons wanting to participate in sharing.
      • Gather books of poems, prayers, etc. for use.

    Note: Several churches are available in town. If someone intends to go, or would like transportation, please let Sheila Daley know.

  • Frequently asked questions is hidden

    What is the stroke retreat?

    The primary goals of camp are to help stroke survivors and their families relax and enjoy the camp activities in a beautiful setting. The atmosphere is typical of regular camp activities: bonfires, sing-alongs, beach parties, exercise, hay rides, games and a talent show. Many of these activities have therapeutic benefits for our stroke survivors.

    What do volunteers do at camp?

    The responsibilities of volunteers vary. Most volunteers are doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians. Others have no medical training, but bring other skills.

    Everyone is asked to pitch in where they can; to help with registration, camper orientation or make name tags; push a wheelchair; spend time with campers and families; help in the dining hall with food and beverages; clean up the tables after meals; take a stroke survivor to one activity while their caregiver tries something else.

    We ask you to use the skills you have. We don't want anyone to do anything that they are uncomfortable doing, physically unable to do or not trained to do. For example, we rely on doctors and nurses to handle any health-related issues. Therapists are skilled in helping with activities.

    If you have a skill with crafts, the craft room may be the place for you. If you love to sing, leading the bonfire sing-a-long can be where you shine. Have another talent? Then working on the talent show may be for you. Do you like people? Then sit on the porch and talk to some of the attendees. Listening to their stories may make their day.

    We rely on our volunteers to be extra "eyes and ears" so that we can keep everyone safe, and to help out so that we keep our events running smoothly and on schedule.

    Junior volunteers have a special role. This specially selected group was created to help high school students learn about volunteerism and the benefits it brings. A limited number of junior volunteers are invited each year. Junior volunteers will be paired with the director or a volunteer with significant camp experience. The junior volunteer will be given specific duties that are appropriate to their skill level. They will often be involved in setting up the activities or serving in messenger and errand roles.

    How are assignments made?

    We ask you for your input when we are making the schedule. Please sign up for some activities daily, and choose the activities that you most enjoy. We also assign you to a cabin, where you will be sharing space with our campers. We try to anticipate the needs of our campers and pair them with volunteers that can help to meet those needs. You might be asked to help dress, bathe or toilet the stroke survivors in your cabin or a nearby cabin, if you have that training.

    What is new this year?

    2017 is the 23rd anniversary of the stroke retreat. We will be celebrating 23 years of success for this unique program.

    What support do we have?

    As stroke retreat director, Sheila Daley wants this to be a positive experience for you and values your input. She is available to guide you and help you if you have questions. Please share your comments and ideas. Camp has evolved through the creative input of our volunteers. Dr. Angelos Katramados is the medical director. We have developed some camp policies to help keep participants safe. The health lodge is equipped to handle small issues, and we have 911 backup, if needed. There is a defibrillator provided by AHA. (To date, we haven't needed to use it, and have had no major health emergencies of any consequence, although, over the years, we have sent some people to the hospital for safety sake.) Dr. Katramados would like to help you with any health related issue. Please report all incidents, even if they appear to be trivial or resolved.

    Key personnel use portable walkie-talkies for communication. This will help facilitate assistance in an emergency.

    You will be provided with printed materials that cover the schedule, camp policies and other useful information. We expect that you read the written materials closely. We also expect that you complete a PowerPoint module that takes about 30 minutes to review. There is a brief test that you must take after the training. Sheila Daley will review any missed questions with you.

    We will designate some seasoned volunteers as "leaders" who can help you to problem solve if issues come up. They will be introduced to you at camp, so you’ll know who they are.

    Camp provides a "gator" tractor to help us with moving people (and belongings) around camp. If someone has a transportation issue, we can help get them where they need to go.

    Can we participate in the activities?

    Absolutely! Our campers benefit from your involvement, and we want you to have fun, too. When you have an assignment, we expect that you will fulfill your obligation (or in an unusual situation, get a substitute.) But the rest of the time, you can enjoy the beach, games, exercise, crafts or whatever interests you.

    I can't attend this year. How else can I help?

    The recruitment effort for campers is a year-round activity. Telling stroke survivors and their families about the stroke retreat helps us to publicize the event. You also can help us to recruit volunteers by telling your co-workers about the camp. Other ways to help include making a cash donation to sponsor a camper or replenish supplies, help with fundraising, or donate craft supplies, camper gifts and prizes for games night at camp.

    What if I have questions or concerns?

    Contact Sheila Daley or Kissie Harris. Sheila can be reached at (313) 575-4373. Kissie can be contacted at (248) 909-8318.

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