WHAT DID YOU DO THIS SUMMER, KIDDO?

Maytronics Donated a Wave 100 to North Star Reach

By Christine G. Adamo

With August and September both Back-to-School months, I’m reminded of elementary or junior high days and of receiving our first assignment. The truly dutiful students among us wielded pointy new pencils, binders filled with loose leaf paper and kitschy rubber erasers: a frog on a lily pad, a sad-eyed puppy, a perfectly-formed rainbow.

One phrase always appeared on the blackboard: “What did YOU do this Summer?”

And you? Did you spend your summer days swimming? Your nights poolside, staring up at the stars—so close, yet beyond reach? Your in-between hours playing Marco Polo, in a friend’s private swimming pool? Maytronics turned those daydreams into reality for children and their families, donating a Dolphin Wave 100 to North Star Reach.

Pools: ‘A Prescription for FUN!’

North Star campers reach for a sense of normalcy, despite serious illness. (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach, boy in pool image)

North Star Reach campers gain a sense of normalcy and joy through play. (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

Pool owners love the playful lifestyle a residential swimming pool offers. In our last installment, they also learned that pools are a means for enjoying aquatic exercise or swim therapy routines which improve quality of life among populations suffering from serious illness or complications year ’round.

North Star Reach, est. 2007, calls its own summer camp “a prescription for fun” and offers life-changing camp experiences for children with major health challenges. The nonprofit (based in Ann Arbor, MI) serves roughly 1,500 children and family members each year—for free. These are children for whom other camps are ill-equipped.

The 501(c)(3) reports that some 75,000 children in the Great Lakes Region qualify for its programs. These are children whose serious or life-threatening illnesses: affect their bodies’ cardiovascular or digestive systems, may stem from blood disorders, can include cancer diagnoses and may involve organ transplants or ventilator dependency. Less than 10% are said to have an opportunity to attend summer camp closeby, if adequate facilities are nonexistent.

North Star Reach overcomes this by maintaining an on-site Health Center staffed with nurses, physicians and other medical professionals, so that children with complex medical needs can take part.

  •   North Star Reach serves: OH, IL, IN, MI, WI -&- Ontario (CANADA)
  •   The nonprofit’s programs incl.: Summer Camp sleepaway sessions
  •   + North Star Outreach, bringing camp to kids in hospitals
  •   -&- Spring and Fall Family Weekend Camp sessions

North Star Reach became a full member of the Serious Fun Children’s Network (founded by Paul Newman) on Nov. 3, 2016. The camp’s Dining Hall honors the Philanthropist Actor with a reserved seat marked, in jaunty arts and crafts style, “Paul’s Chair.” Affiliation provides North Star Reach with technical, programmatic, fundraising and promotional support.

How Does Summer Camp Help?

North Star Reach serves Great Lakes area campers and families (pictured in pool) for free. (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

North Star Reach serves campers and families in the Great Lakes area at no cost. (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

North Star Reach’s own mission is met via a set of values which extend like compass points. Those values offer direction and help orient campers, donors, volunteers and staff with one another. The overarching goal is to reach a destination where fun is joyful and transformative, by using play to enhance self-agency and provide a sense of normalcy.

While growing up in Brooklyn, I didn’t participate in summer camp. It wasn’t even on my family’s radar. When we moved to rural Pennsylvania, I got my first taste of a true nature-based, sleepaway camp experience. Campfires. Singalongs. Splashing in pools of water versus settling for massive blasts from the nearest, mysteriously unplugged fire hydrant.

Did your own summer camp experience invigorate you and encourage play? For those under North Star Reach’s seasonal care, childhood is restored. Self-esteem levels rise. Challenges are faced and overcome, rewarded by accomplishment. Thanks to physical, emotional and medical supervision or support, their lives are infused with fun again! Parents or other family members gain temporary respite and get to revel in the children’s newfound autonomy.

The camp is situated on 105 wooded acres in Pinckney, MI. Surrounded by freshwater lakes, sandy beaches and rolling hills, it’s said to be the only camp of its kind to serve children from across the Great Lakes Region.

How Do Swimming Pools Help?

A well-staffed Health Center (staff pictured) allows North Star Reach campers to thrive. (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

An on-site Health Center allows campers at North Star Reach to have fun! (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

If you read “U.S. Army Veteran Receives Dolphin S50,” you met medically-retired U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony W. Hockensmith, II. Teaming up with Water for a Warrior, Maytronics donated a robot to enhance his home-based routine for combating PTSD, TBI and a host of related and unpleasant side effects.

Aquatic therapy and fitness has helped the disabled war veteran improve his ow physical and emotional wellbeing. Yet, pool water and pool-based exercise are medically proven to aid healing for many. Here’s some insight into how they do that: *

•   Water aids and encourages range of motion.
•   Buoyancy increases endurance and decreases pain.
•   Drag offers balanced resistance for strong muscles and joints.
•   Water support reduces fear of falling, improving gait and balance.
•   Swimming restores a sense of normalcy through the ability to exercise.

* Source: This modified list is based on the work of Dr. Beth Scalone.

The benefits of swimming pool-centered activity and swim therapy add up.

“The unique properties of buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and viscosity combine to allow individuals (intolerant to land-based activity) to exercise—gaining physical and mental benefits,” notes Dr. Beth Scalone, DPT, OCS, ATRIC. “As a physical therapist, I see the positive effects a regular aquatic exercise program can have on (many).”

Why Donate a Dolphin Wave 100?

The Dolphin Wave 100 fully automatic pool cleaner (pictured) s user-friendly and provides unmatched levels of hygiene.

The user-friendly Dolphin Wave 100 fully automatic pool cleaner achieves unmatched levels of truly hygienic clean.

Families served by North Star Reach trust the nonprofit to deliver safe, medically-sound, fun experiences which build confidence and foster joy in children. Getting the cleanest, most hygienic pool water results possible (from floor to wall and pool surface) plays a role in ensuring their health and safety.

The Dolphin Wave 100 is a professional grade, heavy-duty robotic pool cleaner suited to public or commercial pools of up to 82-by-32 ft. (25-by-9.8 m). The unit’s multi-layer filtering system aids collection, making for easy removal of impurities from North Star Reach’s two on-site pools. Its lone power cable prevents trip hazards associated with complex hose systems.

The user-friendly, energy-saving Wave 100 pool cleaning robot also features advanced gyroscopic navigation control and is equipped for remote operation that allows for deployment of multiple cycle-time settings. This fully automatic pool cleaner allows staff to focus on helping children “raise a little hell,” as Newman had wanted, 100% worry-free.

Maytronics is proud to share Newman’s own vision for North Star Reach, by supporting this member of a global community of independently managed and financed camps which offer programs designed to serve children with serious illnesses. Educate yourself on this destination for discovery, growth, fun and healing at NorthStarReach.org. You can also learn more at MaytronicsUS.com.

A NOTE FROM THE CAMP’S DIRECTOR:

North Star Reach staff and campers (pictured doing cannonballs in the pool) made the most of their summer thanks to Maytronics!

Staff and campers were able to maximize their summer fun thanks to Maytronics! (Photo courtesy of North Star Reach)

“Bringing the pools to life this summer at North Star Reach helped allow more campers to (revel in) the joy of childhood summer traditions. With accessible ramps and warm temperatures, daily pool time quickly became a camper favorite. Our Maytronics Dolphin Wave 100 stayed busy, working all summer to help keep both pools clean and ready for action.” – Patrick Smith, Camp Operations Director for North Star Reach