Medical Volunteers

Our camp health center “The Observatory” supports camp health and wellness by providing a safe healthcare environment for all those who participate in camp programs: campers, siblings, family camp parents, camp staff, and volunteers. We could not provide the medically supervised experiences our campers and families need without quality doctor and nurse volunteers. Camp simply isn’t possible without the expertise and exceptional care provided to campers by our medical volunteers.

We are excited to share our plans to safely resume on-site summer programs in 2022.

2022 Camp Program Schedule

Spring Campily Retreats
April 22–April 24: General Session
April 29–May 1: General Session

Summer Camps
June 26–July 1: Transplant & Cardiology (Includes Volunteer Training)
July 7–12: Epilepsy/Neuro-Oncology & Cardiology (Includes Volunteer Training)
July 17–22: Sickle Cell Disease (Includes Volunteer Training)

Fall Campily Retreats
Sept. 9–11: General Session (Epilepsy)
Sept. 23–25: General Session
Oct. 21–23: General Session (DMUM)

Click the button below to visit our online application website (Ultra Camp) and begin your application today. (Returning medical volunteers please use the password provided to you.)

If you are a returning medical volunteer and don’t know the password to access your online application form,  please email North Star Reach’s Director of Volunteer Engagement Mike “Coach” Parker (mike@northstarreach.org). If you have any other questions about the volunteer process, please contact Coach.

2022 Volunteer Eligibility FAQs

Please see important 2022 eligibility requirements, along with more information about ensuring a safe and fun camp experience for everyone, on our Program Volunteer page.

More About the Medical Volunteer Experience

North Star Reach’s health care program is led by a Medical Director (physician) and Health Center Director (nurse) who work with our Medical Advisory Board to provide leadership and guidance. Each camp session is staffed with a team of compassionate volunteer medical staff with experience caring for the camper conditions and families we serve. The video below shares some words from our campers to you, in advance of sharing your time and talents.

What do volunteer physicians do?
With the support and guidance of the camp Medical Director, volunteer physicians staff the health center to care for the wide range of medical issues that can arise during summer camp sessions. As part of the healthcare team available around the clock, camp docs evaluate campers and staff, supervise medical procedures and prescribe medication and treatments. Through the magic of small portable battery powered over the air communication devices (the technical term is walkie-talkie) which keep them in touch with the Observatory, they are encouraged to be out in camp seeing the magical, transforming fun in action. Roger that? Over and out.

What do volunteer nurses do?
During our summer camp sessions, camp nurses are responsible for the daily dispensing and documenting of camper medications, providing treatments and procedures (infusions, nebulizers, feeding tube, urinary catheter and central venous catheter care, etc.) and responding to camper and staff drop-in visits for everything from splinters, fevers, and tummy aches to potentially serious accidents or illnesses. Nurses are the utility player of the health care team performing many roles each day and sometimes performing skits around the campfire at night. Nurses typically work with a specific cabin or group of cabins (a constellation in camp speak) and spend time with them at activities throughout the camp day. Support and supervision are provided by the Health Center and Medical Director and volunteer physicians.

Can I volunteer as a medical professional who is not a nurse or a physician?
For medical volunteers who are not physicians or nurses or who are physicians in training, we greatly appreciate your support and expertise working directly as Program Volunteers (visit the Program Volunteer page to learn more).

How many days do I have to attend as a volunteer?
We request that medical volunteers commit to the entire summer camp session for safety and continuity reasons. We make occasional exceptions for physicians if we are unable to fill a session with volunteers who can attend the entire camp session.

Summer camp sessions are inclusive of staff development and training which take place on the day of camper arrival. We do not provide medical care at family camps other than basic emergency evaluation and First Aid, so we do not utilize medical volunteers for Family Camp weekends.

If you are unable to join us for a full summer session, camper check-in day is always a time that we can use extra help. If you can give a few hours of your time, this might be a great way to get involved.

Where is the Camp?
North Star Reach is located on a beautiful peninsula nestled between two lakes in Pinckney, Michigan. Advanced care is available in Ann Arbor approximately 25 miles from camp.

What are the sleeping accommodations?
Healthcare staff accommodations are shared, conditioned bedrooms and suites with attached bathrooms. The buildings have common areas including small kitchenettes and laundry. Located in or near the Observatory, beds are singles with twin XL-sized mattresses.

What about my medications? Will North Star Reach be requiring a physical/ health history of volunteers?
All medications must be stored in the Health Center in locked cubbies we provide. Staff and volunteer will administer their own medications. Immunization status will be confirmed prior to camp. We won’t be collecting other health history, but camp volunteers should be sure that they can meet the vigorous physical and emotional demands of keeping up with an energetic bunch of kids. If you have any additional questions, please email North Star Reach Medical Director, Dr. Becky Patrias, and she would be happy to answer them. (See her email below.)

How do I apply or inquiry about joining the 2022 camp medical team?
Click the Apply button at the top of the page to start your application today. Our Medical Director (Dr. Becky Patrias) would be happy to talk with you anytime. You can email her at becky@northstarreach.org.

Can I refer my patients to camp?
We were hoping you would ask this question! Of course you can. Health care providers are the best source to connect campers and families with camp. Click here to learn more about camper eligibility and how to have your patients apply to camp. Please note: online camper applications will be available at the end of January/early February.