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Posts Tagged ‘special needs swim’

July 2012 Schedule for The Foorce (is finally here!!)

It’s finally posted! I hope you will be able to join us at one or more of these fun events next month. To RSVP for any of them, just send me an email at msearfoorce@gmail.com with the date/event as your subject, and a few days before each one I will send out an email to all attendees with more details.

Remember, this group is completely informal and free (except for the cost of some activities). It exists purely to provide social opportunities to children with any special needs and their friends/siblings and is open to anyone, though we mostly have kids ages 0-13. Parents must attend all activities with their children (sorry, I have enough of my own), and you can RSVP to as many or as few events as you like. All events are subject to change in cases of inclement weather or children šŸ™‚

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JULY 2012

July 6, 1-3pm at Hudson Beach (enter at 103rd and Riverside) – Potluck Picnic and sand play

July 13, 11:00AM at Mariner’s 84th Street Playground – Central Park Brass interactive concert and playground time, picnic lunch to follow.

July 15, 12:00-4:30PMĀ at New York Botanical Gardens: Dig! Plant! Grow! Join us for a picnic lunch at the gardens followed by hands-on family gardening in the Ruth Rea Howell Family garden at 2:00PM.

July 19, 11:00-12:30PMĀ at Highbridge Pool – Social Swim (Olympic sized wading pool and Olympic sized swimming pool)

July 21, 10:00AM at AMC Loews 84th Street 6 – AMC Sensory Friendly Films, Ice Age: Continental Drift

July 25, 10:00AM – Chuck E Cheese (125th Street location). Is usually very empty until after 12:00 on weekdays. If you’re able to join us for this playdate and your child likes pizza and video games, you’re pretty much guaranteed a little downtime here.

First Foorce Meeting October 21, 9am: Extracurricular and Social Activities with Special Guest Speakers

Hooray – the first Cafe 163 meeting is next month and I am finally organized enough to tell you about what to expect! On October 21st at 9am, I can’t wait to welcome two special guests who will speak about some incredible opportunities for special needs students and their families this year.

Ken McGrory is returning this year to talk about the Save Haven basketball league – come hear him discuss what’s new this year! The Ā Champions divisionĀ is now in its 12th year and is open to all children with special needs. The boys and girls, aged 6 to 22, have different issues including ADD, ADHD, Autism, emotional issues, and various physical challenges.Ā The division is split into four groups, flexibly based upon age, ability, social considerations, maturity and size factors. The division is primarily operated by parent volunteers and buddies. Buddies are volunteers (including high school kids and adults) who come out and work directly with the children in building their skills and their self esteem.Ā The division has grown from its original season of approximately 20 players to over 80 players at this time. It has been a fantastic experience for James, not to mention a way to burn some energy and calories during the colder months.

In addition, I am thrilled to announce that Karen Lewis will be speaking at Cafe 163 for the first time.Ā Karen Lewis is the director of Achilles Kids, a free running, walking and rolling program for children with all types of disabilities that is a part of Achilles International. As director, Lewis is responsible for coordinating year-round Achilles Kids weekend events, managing a large portion of Achilles Kidsā€™ PR for both general promotion and specific events and administering more than 150 school chapters of Achilles Kids in New York, where the organization is based. This is especially family-friendly as many weekend events include typical siblings and parents, too! A great way for everyone to get out and about together on Saturdays, not to mention a way to exercise as a family!

In addition to our two amazing speakers, information will be available for:

Sunday Circle, a 2-hour drop off program filled with fun and exciting activities. Parents have the opportunity to drop off their child and enjoy time out while their child has a blast in a trustworthy environment. Sunday Circles allow you to leave your child in the loving hands of qualified professionals and one-on-one teen friends. FREE

West Side Little League, Challenger division, Spring 2012 (special needs baseball).

Cub Scouts/ Boy Scouts, inclusive environments for special needs boys.

Plus more on peer/buddy programs, art classes, cooking instruction, respite opportunities, exercise programs, bowling, swimming lessons, martial arts, and private/group music lessons for the special needs community.

The meeting on October 21st will begin at 9am and will last approximately 1 hour. As of right now, the plan is to meet in the auditorium of PS 163 on W. 97th and Amsterdam. As always, feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions.

There will be special handouts, Foorce slogan contest info (see post), and a 2011 event calendar passed out at the meeting. I’m really hoping for and looking forward to an even bigger turnout than last year, and can’t wait to see everyone again!

Reminder: Highbridge Pool Meetup Today!

Located at 173rd and Amsterdam, easily accessible by the A, C, or trains and many buses. We will be there from 11:00-12:30. Bring a suit, towel, lock and swim diaper for little ones. Admission is free!

And remember, no food, gum or pens allowed inside the pool šŸ™‚

No Food, Gum, or Pens! But We Managed To Sneak In Some Summer Fun

So today was our second trip to Highbridge Pool, and as it often goes we arrived with much lower expectations and had a much better time overall. I still feel certain that we would not be making the trip for the 30 minute lesson. The instructors seem nice, James seems to enjoy it and receives a decent amount of attention in the water, but the fact remains that the lesson includes 50 other special needs children so it is chaotic in its best moments. I appreciate that James is getting comfortable in the water with other children splashing nearby, but I feel that we could have just as much, if not more fun in the pool on our own.

And today we did. After the lesson we stayed for nearly 2 hours in the enormous 1-2 ft. wading pool and all 3 kids had a blast, especially James. He would’ve stayed all day if my 9 month old wasn’t falling apart, and I wasn’t completely sunburned (always the sunscreener, never the sunscreened). Ā The locker rooms were clean (bring your own lock) and the pool was not too crowded. Because James had trouble going through the men’s locker room alone, someone went and got him and let him go through the women’s locker room with me, which was a pleasant change from other pools we have been to.

My only complaint is that the security was pretty intense. Though we had been in the pool for his lesson, we were made to exit and re-enter for the free swim. I handed my bookbag, which had already been in the pool area, to the security guard and spent the next 5 minutes watching her go through it as though I might be smuggling explosives. By the end of her search she had removed all of the food and drink, gum and writing utensils from my bag. Yep, apparently pens and markers are banned from the pool and locker room – wrap your mind around that one. When I asked if I had to get rid of it all, she held up a pack of gum and asked, “Want to eat this right now?” She thought she was being smart, but her smirk faltered a little when I wrapped everything, including my markers in a plastic bag and set it on the ground next to the pool entry. “Can I leave this here and come back for it later?,” I asked. “The kids will want a snack after they’re done swimming.”

Let me change gears for a minute – I wanted to give a shout out to “Coach Bill,” who went above and beyond at Thomas Jefferson Park earlier this week. On Tuesday we tried out the Adaptive Track & Field program that I recently mentioned in a post, and I’m so glad we went! The session was mainly filled with typical children which is not at all what I was expecting, but Coach Bill introduced himself and quickly put me at ease. The very first class started on time and was well-organized, even with 30-40 kids participating. James spent most of the time right by Coach Bill and was able to try relay races, the javelin throw and even hurdles with his support and guidance, in a large group of typical peers (those of you who know James know how impressive this is)! Bill said he got along well with the other kids and James seemed pretty proud of himself on the way home. In the meantime, there was a nice playground right next to the track so the babies were kept busy in the shade while we waited for James to finish – a far cry from wrestling my toddler away from the water!

Still looking to fill some gaps this summer? I was told that it is very casual as far as attendance goes for special needs children, and that there will be a big track meet at the end of the season on August 17th on Randall’s Island. If you are at all interested, I sincerely encourage you to bring your special needs child to a practice to try it out – the program meets all over the city, but we have been going to the one at Thomas Jefferson Park, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30-noon.

Leave your pens at home and come meet us on Thursday for a swim!

Boat Basin Cafe Meetup Friday, plus Highbridge Pool free swim tomorrow!

As I mentioned in the updated July calendar, we’ll be at theĀ Boat Basin Cafe (www.boatbasincafe.com) for lunch followed by a trip to the sprinklers at the Classic Playground (near 79th and Riverside on the water) at 12:30pm on Friday, July 15th. No need to RSVP, though if you want me to save you a spot at our table in the restaurant you can email me (msearfoorce@gmail.com). Please email me if you might come and would like my cell # in order to find me once you get there. Plan to bring swimwear and towels, and sunscreen though the sprinklers and playground area is blessedly shaded.

Additionally, we will be at Highbridge Pool tomorrow, July 14th for free swim at 11a.m. after James’s adaptive swim lesson (we’re trying again). The olympic sized wading pool is perfect for my little ones and allows me to keep a less watchful eye on James as well. To get there from the UWS you can take the M5 to 173rd and Broadway or the 1 train to 168th St, then walk over to 173rd and Amsterdam. I suggest the bus up and the subway back as the most efficient. Email me if you might come and want my cell # to meet up, or just come looking for me. I’ll be the only one there crazy enough to bring 3 non-swimmers into the water by myself (in my defense, the wading pool only goes up to 2 ft deep)!

Details for the Sunday trip to the NYBG will be posted separately later on – we plan to take the Metro North there. Hope to see/ meet you this week!