Recreational Summer Camp Gives Youth the Chance to Explore Beyond Their Disability

University of Northern Iowa

“This was a life changing, awesome opportunity to be involved,” said the mother of one camp participate. “I am so excited for all of the other kids who will get to experience this in the future too!”

The Adapted Sports Camp at UNI was started in 2007 by former UNI professor Nancy Hamilton and Jack Eherenman, SportAbility's chief executive officer. The camp gives kids with lower limb disabilities the chance to explore sports they may not have the opportunity to do elsewhere. It also allows UNI student volunteers an opportunity to learn and have a lot of fun while doing so.

“For more than a decade, Adapted Sports Camp has been held at UNI, and it has been a win-win for both participants and our campus community,” said Christopher Denison, director of Recreation Services. “Since the University of Northern Iowa houses academic programs in Therapeutic Recreation and Special Education, we are uniquely able to provide facilities and services to the camp.”

Camp participants come from the Cedar Valley, across Iowa and around the country to participate in the four-day camp. Participants range in age from 3 to 18 and participate in a number of sports, including wheelchair basketball, track and field, cycling, sit volleyball, tennis, rock climbing and more.

The UNI community that supports the camp refers to this experience as “transformational,” and as Eherenman said, “absolutely life-changing” for both participants, volunteers and the UNI campus. Not only does SportAbility gives youth the chance to explore beyond their disability, but it allows each and every one of the participants to learn lifelong skills in fitness.

This year's SportAbility camp runs from June 14 to June 17. For more information, visit sportabilityofiowa.org/events/.

University of Northern Iowa