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iCan Swim & iCan Bike Camps Benefit Individuals with Disabilities

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. – The Autism Society of Nebraska, Pediatric Therapy Center, the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands, along with College of Saint Mary is hosting its iCan Swim and iCan Bike camps at CSM’s new Flames Lied Fitness Center.

This is the first year of the partnership with CSM and the first year for the swim camp, which is June 20-24 in the University’s Aquatic Center. The bike camp is July 18-22. The camps utilize the iCan Shine programs, which serve nearly 3,000 people with disabilities each year.

The swim camp is for children ages 3 and up with special needs. Each of the 30 swimmers participating will spend 45 to 60 minutes a day for five days to meet their own unique goals, which will range from an introduction to water exploration, learning water safety in aquatic environment, learning to swim, or skill refinement in preparation to join a Special Olympics, Paralympic or other swim team.

The bike camp is for children 8 years old and up with special needs. Campers spend a concentrated 75 minutes a day for five days to learn and practice their skills. Each camp has two volunteers by their side throughout the camp.

CSM occupational therapy students will serve as many of those volunteers. “We couldn’t be successful without the volunteers,” said Danielle Thiessen, lead physical therapist at Pediatric Therapy Center. “Having this many volunteers from College of Saint Mary is truly a blessing.”

In addition to helping these individuals, the students also get an opportunity to use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom.

“The students really get to see how the body works and what skills it takes – what motor skills, cognitive skills and emotional skills it takes – to be able to do an activity,” said Dr. Jaime Garafalo-Peterson, assistant professor of occupational therapy and fieldwork coordinator. “It really helps them with everything they’re learning in the classroom, it helps them connect.”

For more information, contact Danielle Thiessen at danielle [at] or 402-932-2782.