How To Help

To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Time For Camp!

Thirty-two smiling junior golfers.  Some of the kids walked to the area where they would practice.  Some of them ran to the same spot.  Still others rolled themselves or were pushed in their wheelchairs.  The method by which they arrived is irrelevant.  What is important is that they were all there with the same purpose:  to hit golf balls, learn how they could improve, and have fun.  Able-bodied kids were sandwiched in between kids with obvious physical challenges.  The ironic thing about it is the junior golfers who kept asking to hit more golf balls were the ones who are patients at Ranken Jordan!

Mikey T. and Dakota working on their chipping while Ali Wells gives a tip to a camper.
Each summer Ranken Jordan conducts camps that are 100% inclusive and all of the activities are able to be completed and enjoyed by each and every kid who participates.  This summer marks the third year that golf has been a part of their summer camp.  Every year the number of kids who come for the golf clinics has grown and it seems the size of the smiles on their faces continues to grow as well.  Thirty-two kids may not be a lot when compared to many junior golf programs around the country.  However when you are talking about a junior golf program at a pediatric hospital it is a great number!

Unlike some of the "traditional" junior golf programs I have been involved with ours does not rely on the number of players to determine how successful it has been.  Do we want to see as many kids as possible enjoying the game and having fun outside on a sunny summer morning?  You better believe we do.  But we do not use this number as the focal point in deciding if the golf clinics should continue on in the following year's camps.  Rather we look at the faces of the kids while they are hitting golf balls and as they are heading back inside to Warner's Corner for more fun and games.  Those expressions we see are the determining factor of whether or not we have achieved success.

Bombs away!
One other way we determine the level of success is from the interaction of the kids with each other.  It is not often that you the mixture of kids all playing the same game like you do at Ranken Jordan.  On a weekly basis throughout the year we show the patients that they can play and enjoy golf.  During the camps we have the opportunity to show the able-bodied participants from the community that just because a child is in a wheelchair it does not mean they should not be included.  In fact, during the clinic on June 25, 2013, I watched 2 young men in wheelchairs hit the ball farther than the able-bodied kids who were hitting next to them!

It has been well-documented in various blog posts that our golf program runs year-round thanks to the wonderful facility we have to work with.  During most of those weeks the focus is on showing the patients that they can participate in a sport, enjoy it, and have success with it.  Those weeks of diligent practice lead into these weeks during the summer where the patients have the opportunity to show off their skills to their peers.  While working with a couple of the patients at Ranken Jordan, I looked up at different times to see some of the campers staring in awe as ball after ball was sent flying straight as an arrow.  As I walked up and down the line of junior golfers offering a tip here and there, I often found myself wondering who was learning more, the patients, camp participants, or those of us who were supposed to be providing the instruction!

No comments:

Post a Comment