Marshall University’s College of Health Professions is hosting the "Lose the Training Wheels" camp July 18-22 and for the first time, the university has partnered with the Phil Cline Family YMCA to host the summer sessions.
Volunteers in the program teach participants with disabilities how to independently ride a two-wheel bicycle. It is in its sixth consecutive year and offered in concert with the nonprofit organization iCanShine.
Sarah Holub, health and wellness director for the YMCA, said the mission of the YMCA is to bring all individuals together through a shared passion, regardless of age, race, walks of life or ability. She said she believes the partnership is a perfect fit for the organization.
"The YMCA promises a commitment to nurture and strengthen the foundation of community and ensure that each individual has access to the essentials to live a healthy life. Here at the Huntington YMCA and the Phil Cline Family YMCA, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with the iCanShine organization and the College of Health Professions," Holub said. "Hosting this camp will allow the community to have access to a wonderful facility that offers numerous programs and services to individuals of all abilities."
The continuance of this camp is so important, as it can be life-changing for children in regard to gaining confidence and becoming more physically active, according to the camp’s director, Dr. Elizabeth Casey.
"We’ve struggled with funding in past years and we were thrilled when the YMCA stepped in to offer their facilities at a special rate," Casey said. "However, we still need corporate sponsors to assist with the payment of the equipment usage, T-shirts, lodging costs for our iCanShine volunteers, etc. We would love to see continued support from our community to help make this camp available for our kids."
iCanShine is a national organization that works with local organizations to host camps in individual communities. Staff members travel the country conducting the camps, and have an average success rate of more than eighty percent. Participants attend one 75-minute session each day for five consecutive days.
To be eligible to register for the camp, participants must be at least 8 years old and have a diagnosed disability. They must have a minimum inseam of 20 inches, weigh less than 220 pounds and be able to walk without assistive devices. Teens and adults may participate as well.
The registration fee is $100, but scholarships are available. For more information on the camp or to inquire about scholarships, contact Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-696-5831. More information is also available online at www.marshall.edu/lttw. For more information on Marshall’s College of Health Professions, visit www.marshall.edu/cohp. To learn more about the Phil Cline Family YMCA, visit www.huntingtonymca.org.
Individuals interested in helping to defray the costs of the camp through financial donations may contact Rick Robinson, director of development with the Marshall University College of Health Professions, at 304-696-7081.
Photo: Leon Hart (left) of Ashland, Ky. has volunteered for the Lose the Training Wheels summer camp since 2010. Hart is shown working with 11-year old Abbi Lockard as she learns to ride her bicycle on her own during last year’s camp.