For someone whose summer social life centers almost entirely around the pool, it's kind of a shame I don't like getting in the water. I am happy to spend hours watching my children, even the children of others, do water ballet moves, the backstroke and go off the diving board -- as long as it's from the safety of a comfortable deck chair. I take my refusal to get my hair wet so seriously in fact, that I rarely even put on a swimsuit.
But all my stay-dry tactics aside, I do know how to swim. I learned in elementary school and am absolutely safe to take on a boat, to the lake, or even white water rafting. And I have insisted that my kids take lessons, at least through Red Cross Level Six, as well. I've told my daughter that her strokes don't need to be pretty, but they do need to be mastered. Even the ever-elusive butterfly; it's a family rule. I remind my kids they are very fortunate to get the chance to learn to swim as part of their summer activities. Not every kid in Madison can say the same.
When Shelley Glover was a child, she'd come home from Lincoln School, and tell her mother Carmella that she wished all the kids in her class could have as much fun as she did playing sports. She loved summer swimming with the Shorewood Pool Sharks and playing soccer for the 56ers. Eventually her love of ski racing led her to become one of the best alpine ski racers to come out of the Midwest and she was named to the U.S. Ski development team at age 15. Tragically, Shelley died in 2004 in a ski training accident at the age of 17.
In 2005, to honor her legacy, the Shelley Glover Sports Education Foundation was founded to make sure that more kids, regardless of their financial situation, get the chance to know the joy and health benefits of participating in sports, especially Glover's beloved soccer, skiing and swimming.
The organization's first fundraiser, Kids Swimming for Kids [PDF], took place at Shorewood Pool that same year. My oldest son, eight at the time and enjoying his first summer as a Shark, eagerly gathered pledges for every lap he swam. The excitement at the pool that morning was palpable and I vividly remember meeting Carmella, hearing Shelley's story, and understanding what a gift her foundation was to the community. Since its inception, Kids Swimming for Kids has expanded to eight area pools and raises more than $12,000 each summer. Over $150,000 has been raised to date with much of this money going to develop the Goodman Waves (http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/pool/swimTeam.cfm), the public pool's first swim team. This year the Goodman Waves has 105 swim team members; forty swimmers receive scholarships.
But you don't have to be a (Shorewood) Shark, a (Westside) Dolphin, or a (Hill Farms) Cow swim team member to get the chance to support this wonderful cause. Because Thursday, July 19 from 7-9 pm the first, and hopefully annual, Shelley Glover Sports Education Foundation City-Wide Pool Party will be held at the Goodman Pool. For just a $10 donation per person you get an evening of swimming, entertainment provided by Celebrations, and a hot dog snack. All funds raised will benefit the Kids Swimming for Kids program, allowing further access to swim lessons, pool passes and swim team scholarships for deserving kids at Goodman.
No, I can't be persuaded to go under water easily. But I can't think of a better reason to actually don a swimsuit this week, blistering heat aside, than to honor Shelley's legacy and her gift to the Madison community.comments powered by Disqus
Lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders -- 10 boys and six girls -- enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.