Mama Madison: When swimming is more than fun

Honoring Shelley Glover's legacy

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

More to read

Loading More Articles
No More Articles

Mama Madison: What a mother fears most

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.

Operation Fresh Start's Youth Conservation Corps helps kids, and kids help parks

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.

Mama Madison: Summer stress solved by yoga

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.

Mama Madison: The greatest fans of road repair

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.

Mama Madison: The alarm sounds

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.

Mama Madison: My summer book list

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.

Make Music Madison gives young artists a chance to perform

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.

Mama Madison: Watching talent grow

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.

Mama Madison: Writing time at Olbrich

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.

Mama Madison: When UW-Madison's semester is over, the kids want out too

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.

Mama Madison: Another amazing talent show

My passion for the talent show clearly runs deep, but I'm more than just a fangirl. This year marked my second as one of the "Ziegfelds" of the Follies, Hamilton's annual showcase for singers, musicians, dancers and other varied forms of entertainment. Trust me, when you are part of the spectacle's "producing/directing" team you get a new-found appreciation for how hard the kids worked to get up on stage.

Mama Madison: Preserving children's stories

My daughter, who turned twelve just this past week, is not legally "of age" when it comes to social media. But I guess, in many respects, especially in those that involve screens, I am a permissive pushover. I've allowed her join some networks.

Tenting tonight? Not so fast -- take the time to prepare for the first family camping trip

What adults love about camping -- sleeping under the stars, getting away from it all, the sounds of nature -- can be scary for children. It's dark in a tent. Nothing is familiar. Of course, camping with kids is more work for adults, too. Stay cool, live in the moment. Forget about that lost fork. Making s'mores, spotting wildlife, that's what kids will remember.

Mama Madison: It's time for the college tour

I have just returned from a whirlwind, five-day, four-city college tour with my son. You know those "101 Things to Know Before Visiting Disney World" guidebooks that experienced theme park travelers have written to help the uninitiated? I think I am now officially seasoned enough in information sessions and campus tours to give some serious thought to penning a similar "insiders guide" for the junior-year parent.

Mama Madison: When mom gets a new roomie

This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition.

Mama Madison: Earth Day awareness

It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.

Mama Madison: Parents should know and understand school codes of conduct

I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.

Helping your kids stick with music lessons

Some clever-clogs is playing Rachmaninoff on the piano at a party, and there it is again, that oft-heard adult lament of lost opportunity from a dejected onlooker: "I wish I could play. I wish my parents hadn't let me quit music lessons. I was just a kid -- how was I to know?" It's a reasonable complaint.

A summer camp quiz for parents

If you're checking out summer camps for your child, there are many issues -- some obvious, some less so -- to keep in mind. Here's a list to keep handy when you contact camps and camp directors, looking for the perfect spot for your kids to have fun, relax, and learn this summer.

Mama Madison: Lessons in dining out

I know, in the grand scheme of things, that my kid issues, when it comes to dining out, absolutely pale in comparison to those of parents whose kids have special needs. Many kids, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, are disturbed by changes in their routine, or anxious around noisy places. They may not be able tolerate waiting for a table or standing in line. So unfortunately, many of these families just avoid eating out at restaurants altogether.


Emails from Isthmus Parents feature event highlights, story links, site updates, and occasional special offers from trusted sources. Name and email address are required. Thanks!