Innovative junior golf program helping kids in pediatric hospitals get better while learning the game of a lifetime.
How To Help
To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Helping the Whole Family Heal
Spend much time at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital or on their website and you are likely to repeatedly encounter the phrase "care beyond the bedside." This phrase permeates all they do at the hospital and is evidenced by the activities you see the kids doing as they transition from hospital to home. If you walk into Ranken Jordan expecting to see kids laying in their hospital beds or sitting in their rooms playing video games then you are in the wrong place. Instead you will see kids playing basketball, air hockey, or golf. And the one most important thing you will see with all the kids is they are smiling, laughing, and having fun . . . and getting better.
The golf program at Ranken Jordan is a great example of their philosophy of getting the kids up, out of bed, and out of their rooms as they journey down the road to recovery. Golf has proved to be a wonderful healing tool and has been used in all manners by the medical team at Ranken Jordan. One of the greatest things about teaching the kids how to play golf, and I have discussed this repeatedly on this blog, is the wide range of physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits the kids receive from participating in the game of a lifetime. But one of the often overlooked benefits of the kids playing golf is the benefit received by the family members who may have never thought it would be possible to have a new junior golfer in the household.
Many times during the almost 3 years since our program debuted I have been standing with a parent, sibling, or grandparent as they watch ball after ball go flying long and straight. Often the family members start off with a feeling of disbelief at seeing something they never dreamed possible is in reality possible. That feeling quickly dissipates and is replaced by extreme excitement, joy, and pride. There is nothing as rewarding as putting smiles on the faces of the kids at Ranken Jordan who I am so fortunate to teach how to play golf. But almost as rewarding is seeing the smiles and tears of joy from the parents as they watch their child do what may have been considered impossible. Seeing your child in the hospital is probably one of the most difficult things any parent will encounter. But when they can see the child having fun, smiling, and doing something new while they are recovering, that pain and difficulty subsides just a little bit.
Golf can be a very inclusionary sport and activity for kids and families alike. This allows the game to serve as a type of continuum of care for the kids, siblings, and parents. By showing them while they are in the hospital that they can play golf, everyone has something to look forward to once the child has gone home. I have heard from many of the kids that they never thought they would be able to play sports, or play sports again, after leaving the hospital. After being introduced to golf they feel differently and so do their parents. One of the best comments (and I take it as a compliment, too) I have heard came from a father who said, "I never thought my son would be able to play golf. Now I can't wait to get to the golf course with him!" Golf is helping kids heal and helping families through a difficult time. And as Ranken Jordan's website says, they "are a place where the impossible becomes possible."