At Shriners Hospitals for Children, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to learn to swim and be safe in the water. To support this, in June, our rehabilitation department hosted our 14th annual Camp Splash along with the help of Foss Swim School.
Twenty-five patients took part in the weeklong swimming school at the hospital’s specially designed pool, fitted with a ramp for wheelchairs and staggered floor. Patients ranged in age from 3–17 and had various conditions, including spina bifida, cerebral palsy and limb deficiencies.
For some, it was their first time in a pool. For others, the camp helped build strength and confidence in the water, regardless of physical limitations.
“Nora really trusts her instructor. The first day she told me she was shy, now she’s a lot more confident in the water,” a patient’s grandmother, Julie, said.
Alexis, 7, used the wheelchair ramp to access the pool. She was always excited to start her lesson. She reflected, “I like basically everything. I like that I can swim by myself."
“They might have to work a little harder to swim, but they have the spirit and that’s incredible,” said Foss Instructor Tanya Schlick.
Foss Swim School donated the time of five instructors to work one-on-one with the patients. For instructor Randal Anderson, it’s his favorite week of the year. “As much as the kids can’t wait to come to Camp Splash, we can't wait too,” Randal said. In his sixth year teaching at the camp and he can’t wait to come back again. “Learning to swim is important for safety, but also for their muscles and strength,” he said.
Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities Physical Therapist Assistant Mary Rose organized the event and described it as a chance for patients to come and just be kids in a safe environment. “This is why we do what we do. We do all this, so they can do their job of being a kid,” Mary said.