By Lawrence Becerra, Chairman, Las Campanas Compadres
Las Campanas Compadres offers therapeutic riding and swimming lessons to people with special needs at the world class facilities of The Club at Las Campanas. Lessons are free and 100 percent supported by private donations.
Dave Caldwell started the LCC swim program in May of 2009. He also serves as an LCC board member. Dave’s love and knowledge of aquatics allows him to engage his students in creative ways to help them meet their individual goals.
“My love of the water began right after birth when my mom took me to a water baby’s class. By the age of 18 months, I was jumping off diving boards and playing under water. I taught my first swim lesson at the age of 15 and became a swim coach a year later. After college, I took a job teaching in a special needs class room in rural South Carolina. My perspective on the disabled changed as I realized that people with disabilities are capable of so much more than the opportunities they are given. When Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra, founders of LCC, approached me about running the LCC swim program I jumped at the opportunity to continue the work I started 12 years earlier. Our students range from 3 to 65 years of age.”
“Water therapy has many physical and mental health benefits for all ages, from the very young to the very old. Swimming can help improve your flexibility, strength, circulation, and lung capacity.”
LCC’s riding instructor, Karen Evans, is passionate about all things equine. “My love affair with horses began in early childhood with my grandfather who raised ponies while operating a large farm in rural North Carolina. In 1998, after 2 months of study at the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, I was awarded an Advanced Instructor Certification in Physical and Cognitive Disabilities by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.”
“Equine therapy has so many benefits for our participants. The physical tends to be the most obvious: increased flexibilities, improvements in both strength and balance, better motor skills. But there’s more: the self-confidence of a young boy who trots without a leader for the first time, the child who is inspired by the horse to interact with others, the adults for whom horseback riding is one more opportunity to maximize their independence and involvement in the world.”
“Volunteers are the back bone of equine therapy programs and we owe them a great deal of thanks. Volunteers, however, will tell you that the benefit is all theirs! After 15 years as an instructor with over 7,500 therapeutic lesson hours, the magic is as strong as ever. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, ‘the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person.’”
For the past five years Las Campanas Compadres has held a triathlon fund raising event on the grounds of The Club at Las Campanas. This year’s event will feature a sprint tri for adults and a mini tri for juniors. This is the charity’s only fund raising event and its success ensures the continuation of this worthwhile program. This year’s event will be held on Labor Day, September 1. Expectations are for 200 participants.
To learn more about the event, or the program and how you can help, please visit www.lascampanascompadres.org.