Camp Couples Therapy With Fun
At Babler State Park in Wildwood, Missouri kids enjoy paddling around in the three foot pool. While swimming is a summer ritual for some, for others, it doesn't happen very often.
"If someone were to come up to our pool, they would say these kids aren't handicapped. If you didn't see the wheelchairs, you wouldn't see it as any different than any other city pool," said camp counselor Kayla Ainsworth.
At the Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp, 32 campers from Columbia to Cape Girardeau had a phenomenal five days. Swimming for these children is not only entertaining, but also therapeutic because the water helps kids walk.
"Those kids that have difficulty walking, it's a lot easier than walking on land. Similar to moon experiences with weightlessness it's kind of like that. I think it's really freedom giving to them," said Jill Lamberti, Coordinator of MDA Healthcare Services.
Ainsworth agrees it is a chance for the kids to have experiences they could never have on dry land.
"When the kids are in the pool, it's a real neat experience because gravity is kind to them. They can walk, they can splash," Ainsworth explained.
John Michael Johnson of Marshall used a waterproof chair made out of PVC pipe to get into the water. Johnson uses a wheelchair on land but he said when he's submerged, he can walk.
"Cause it makes you feel lighter," Johnson explained.
The pool at MDA camp also includes a handicapped accessible ramp with more than 15 feet of grab bars.
"It makes it a lot safer because they can transfer right out of the chair and go directly in the water," Lamberti said.
The camp is all about making the kids feel special and giving them some opportunities they normally don't get to enjoy.
"This week to them is just like Christmas except it's seven days. This is a place where they get to come and nobody's different. Everyone's the same. So this is their week," said camp counselor Mary Meyer.
It costs $600 to send a child to camp. You can help out by watching the MDA Telethon during Labor Day weekend on Sunday night.
To help with the MDA summer camp call (573) 442-4325.