Kids Excel at Camp Without Limits

Article Date: Jul 29, 2009

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OMAHA, Neb. -- Two dozen children skate onto an ice rink, ready to learn how to play hockey.

"The spirit really comes out in these kids," said volunteer hockey coach Mike Kult. "They want to do it better, they want to do it faster, they want to skate better than the old guys. They have the same competitive drive as anyone else. We just do it in a different way."

The hockey players are all physically disabled. Instead of skates attached to their feet, they sit on sleds atop ice blades.

Hockey is just one of many sports children play at Junior Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Camp. Children and teenagers also participate in archery, volleyball, golf, basketball and swimming. The camp, organized through Alegent Health Immanuel Rehabilation Center, is free and offered to any child ages 5 through high school age.

"I look at it as, it could be you or me tomorrow," said camp coordinator Jena Munson. "I have a lot of things I'm passionate about, and I'd definitely want them available to me."

Lori Burke, whose son Logan has attended the camp for five years, says it has changed life for her family.

"It was a blessing for us to come to camp," said Burke. "We didn't know there was such a thing as wheelchair sports."

Burke's son now participates with a basketball team that travels the country to compete. "The self confidence alone is so amazing," said Burke. "He'll say, 'you know, I do have a physical disability, but there's no limit to it. I can do whatever I want just like everybody else.'"

Burke says the camp also allows her son to be surrounded by other children and families with physical disabilities. Coach Kult played for the USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Team for several years.

"It means a lot that there are people willing to teach us different sports," said 15-year-old camper Josh Maier. "Different paralympic athletes teaching young kids. That's what it's about, how you get new players."

Maier encourages other children to attend the camp. "Come on out and try it," Maier said. "No one's gonna make fun of you, it's fun and you might like it enough to join a team."

Republished with permission from

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