A Diving Moment

July 21, 2014
Topics: Riley Staff Profiles, Camp Riley

Diving Moment
Dive Instructor Bill Monsam with Teddy Coppes, on the left, and his cousin Sam Pepper, who will be Teddy's dive buddy as he works to become certified.

This was diving weekend at Camp Riley. On Saturday, through the generosity of Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA), three campers began their journey to become certified divers by learning introductory skills in the Butler University pool. The next day 25 plus campers were introduced to scuba diving in the Bradford Woods’ pool by the dynamic teaching duo of Michele and Bill Monsam, who have traveled from the Cody Unser First Step Foundation in Albuquerque to volunteer with the campers for five years.

As there have been each of those five years, there were many memorable moments from the weekend. Funny, moving, courageous moments. And this year, for me, one completely unforgettable moment.

M had finished having a great time diving when I joined her in the shade at the picnic table by the pool. M has cerebral palsy that affects her speech, mobility and movements. As she sometimes struggles to talk, she has the most remarkable habit of stopping at the end of a sentence, looking into your eyes and engaging you in a moment of mutual understanding.

She was telling me something about her family when she stopped and asked me if I knew why she was sure there was a God. She explained. “I wasn’t supposed to ever be able to think or to talk when I was born. I was just supposed to be like a baby all of my life. But today I went scuba diving. I breathed under water.” She paused and looked into my eyes and asked, “Do you get it?”

What happens during diving weekend at Camp Riley is about so much more than diving.

I get it.

Maureen Manier

Maureen Manier is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Riley Children's Foundation.

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