Adaptive Aquatics Offer Children Time for Fun


    By Tiffany Meredith

    Children squeal with joy. The water sloshes and splashes as children start water fights. One boy giggles as he rides piggyback on his new buddy. Another grasps his blue kickboard and makes boat noises as his buddy pushes him around the pool. The area is a canvas of bright orange life jackets and beaming smiles.

    The freezing weather outside doesn”t stop these children and student volunteers from feeling warm as they spend time together.

    “Everyone has a smile and it is contagious,” said Goldie Mehan, director of the program and a communications disorders senior. “Just the love and the trust that the kids have for their swim buddies. They don”t know who you are and they still trust you. They get so excited to swim with you and don”t care who you are.”

    The program, called adaptive aquatics, partners student volunteers with children with different disabilities ages five to 21 from the Nebo and Alpine School Districts.

    The children come to the Richards Building once a week for about an hour of swimming and playing.

    “One main goal of the program is to help students provide meaningful service to others,” said Brittney Losee, community service coordinator.

    Although students are looking to do service, many feel they benefit more than the children.

    “A lot of students here at BYU are looking for service opportunities and this one is great because it is on campus,” Losee said. “You get to develop a relationship with the kids and in the end, it is more of a service to the students.”

    Some of the kids are blind, some are deaf, some have Down syndrome and other disabilities. But all come to relax and enjoy time swimming, splashing, blowing bubbles, playing basketball and jumping off the diving boards with volunteers.

    “There was this one kid that wore me out -Daniel,” said Mehan. “I was paired up with him, but he didn”t want to swim. He just wanted to play tag so we just played tag and wrestled in the water.”

    Students enjoy participating in good works and having fun while doing so.

    “I say it is the unofficial funnest service project on campus,” said John Sigety, a political science junior from Louisville, Texas and co-director of the program. “Who doesn”t like swimming and who doesn”t like kids?”

    The program is still accepting volunteers for Fridays at 11 a.m. To sign up or for more information, email .

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