Camp Riley campers to receive scuba certification in Denver, Colorado

Three Camp Riley campers along with their chosen dive buddies will achieve weightlessness underwater thanks to an annual scuba certification trip with the Cody Unser First Step Foundation’s dive team, “Operation Deep Down.” The Indiana chapters of Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) are underwriting the cost of the trip. ESA member Denise Hagerty will also make the trip. Campers will receive an inspiring perspective, reminding them a wheelchair or physical disability does not define them; their willpower does.

Camp Riley campers – Joel Anderson, 17, Crown Point, Ind.; Teddy Coppes, 17, Muncy, Penn.; Autumn Pearson, 17, Crawfordsville, Ind. – were selected for the scuba certification trip to Denver, Colo.

Camp Riley empowers children with physical disabilities by providing enriching, life-changing experiences in a traditional camping environment tailored to their individual needs. For 60 years, campers have shattered perceived limitations, met new friends and reached higher achievements, allowing them to return home with an increased sense of independence and confidence. 

"Changing lives one dive at a time" is the motto of the Cody Unser First Step Foundation’s dive team and for Cody Unser; this statement has much more purpose.

“I am always so excited to be involved in these kids’ lives from their first introduction to the freedom of scuba diving at Camp Riley in Indiana during the summer, to watching them travel on a plane to Denver to become certified in an aquarium with loved ones,” Unser said. “The courage and determination they show always motivates me to want to do more. This year we will be busy in between dives, having a blast in downtown Denver and will continue the tradition to sneak over to the Unser Go-Kart track so they get a chance to drive hand controlled go-karts and stand on the gas!"

WHO: Three Camp Riley campers, dive buddies, Camp Riley staff
WHAT: Adaptive Scuba Diving at the Downtown Denver Aquarium – Denver, Colo.

Camp Riley campers will receive PADI scuba certification from The Cody Unser First Step Foundation’s dive team, “Operation Deep Down” with support from A1-Scuba, a local dive store in Denver that runs the emersion program conducted at the aquarium in Denver.

Downtown Aquarium, Denver
700 Water St.
Denver, CO 80211

Thursday, March 12
7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
(note: the group will be split up in 2 groups for the certification dives.)

About Riley Children’s Foundation

Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. As Indiana’s only comprehensive children’s hospital, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families since 1924. Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics more than 300,000 times as well as an additional 100,000 times in clinics and hospitals staffed by Riley physicians throughout the state. 


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