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
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (Near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.
The longest day of the year is upon us. For those of you keeping track, the sun will rise at 5:18 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. All that daylight, courtesy of the annual summer solstice, will provide the perfect backdrop for Make Music Madison, a daylong event featuring hours and hours of free performances in nearly every corner of the city.
Last week, for the first time, I made my way up to one of the open gallery nights during Madison West's Fine Arts Week, the school's annual showcase for all things creative. The scope of the event is huge, with nearly 1,600 students participating, and the quality of the presented works is phenomenal. It's almost as if the school had been lifted off its perch on Regent Street and traveled back in time to Belle Époque Paris.
If you have aspiring authors in your house, this summer offers a fabulous opportunity for them refine their writing skills. For its second summer, the Greater Madison Writing Project, in partnership with Olbrich Botanical Gardens, is sponsoring two week-long camps in August for young writers entering grades 3-8.
There are lots of benefits to living in a college town. First and foremost, there is always something going on -- a lecture, a film series. Maybe even a protest, if you're lucky. And since becoming a Madisonian, I, for the first time in my life, find myself interested in college football.