BY ANICKA SLACHTA
The evening of July 21, nearly 100 IU athletes volunteered to stop by Camp Riley at Bradford Woods — a camp associated with Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health that caters to kids with physical disabilities — for a night of yard games and sports.
“It’s a positive boost of energy to have 100 highly talented and energetic athletes come to camp,” Shay Dawson, director of Bradford Woods, says. Campers get to be around successful individuals around their own ages, which provides positive roles in their lives.
This is the second year the event has taken place, and many of the events from last July transferred into this summer’s program: campers and athletes participated in sit volleyball matches, games of 4-square, horseshoe tosses, archery, human bowling, and more, and the night culminated in a 5-on-5 wheelchair basketball game that set campers against athletes.
This is when Dawson says a remarkable moment took place. “Grace, a Venture camper, shot a 15-foot jumper from her wheelchair and swished it for a win for her team over the athletes,” he says. “The entire women’s basketball team stormed the court and the place went wild. Grace started to cry because she was so incredibly happy. It was like she had just won the Big 10 tournament.”
Dawson says as long as IU Athletics is willing, he’d love to make the camp visit a tradition. “The skills taught through these experiential learning opportunities will last a lifetime,” he says. “It’s fun to be a part of that mission and to be part of an IU organization that is not only about winning but about developing strong future leaders and people.”