Children showed improvements in physical abilities and social skills over the course of the Special Olympics Youth Camp from Jan. 29 to March 28.
For the past two years, the camp has been run by Creighton students in The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions partnered with physical therapists from Creighton Pediatric Therapy.
This year, around 13 kids of all abilities and diagnoses attended the camp every Tuesday and Thursday.
“Having this wide variety of skill sets showed the kids that anyone can play sports or be on a team,” said Hannah RW. Schramm, a volunteer who is in The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.
Each day, the camp started and ended with a song. The children went into two groups based on age and did activities related to the skill of the week, including running, kicking, balancing and throwing.
Kimberly Beran-Shepler, a parent of two kids that participated at camp, said that her kids were “able to demonstrate carry-over from the skills he practiced at this camp to other environments such as preschool and home.”
She has sent her kids there for the past two years and would recommend it “without hesitation.”
The camp also benefitted the kids in areas other than athletics.
“The camp not only impacts the children's motor skills and sport readiness, but also impacts their social, emotional and learning skills,” said Katie Atkins, a volunteer in The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.
“The children get so much confidence and build such supportive relationships,” Kate Jessen, a volunteer who is in The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, said. “From day one to the end, personalities really came out to shine.”
The volunteers were also impacted by the camp.
Jessen was encouraged by the kids to “always find a way” to do something.
“For me as a student, it was a really great opportunity to be able to work inter-professionally with the OT students,” Jessen said. “It was an opportunity for me to learn from them while being exposed to a population that I would love to work with.”
Atkins said, “every child deserves the opportunity to participate in sports activities, some just need a little support to meet their skill level.”