A year-round, nonprofit facility for individuals with special needs, Camp Courageous lives up to its name. The facility serves more than 5,100 annually, offering public hours, swimming for local camps and a winter practice home for local youth swim teams

Additionally, the camp offers public programs, such as a winter learn-to-swim program for infants, children and adults, and American Red Cross lifeguarding

The facility’s main pool is a six-lane, 25-meter indoor lap pool, featuring a lift and entry steps to ensure easy universal accessibility. There’s also a volleyball net designed to stretch the width of the lap pool, and visitors can make use of the climbing wall, reportedly the first ever installed at an indoor swimming facility in the United States

The therapeutic pool, kept at 88 degrees, is universally accessible, with an easy-to-use ramp. It includes four therapy jets for relaxation, and because many campers can’t do more than float in the pool with counselor help, Camp Courageous provides an extrasensory experience. A unique mobile made by the counselors hangs over the therapy pool, and by adding pit balls, play noodles and other toys, the staff can create a stimulating Snoezelen pool

Design throughout the facility ensures easy accessibility in all areas for all patrons. The locker rooms contain adult-sized changing tables and ramps, lifts and wide pathways to make the facility comfortable for individuals with special needs, and their companions

Camp Courageous boasts a number of eco-friendly features as well. Both pools utilize geothermal heating, while solar energy powers the pool building. One challenge was a refinished pool deck that was hazardous when wet. Recycled PEM aquatic matting from the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha was a perfect solution

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The camp is run primarily on donations; it uses no government assistance, formal sponsorship or fund-raisers. To raise funds, donors gave $1,000 each to “purchase” a block for a special poolside donor wall. No donor money is used for advertising — marketing is done through word of mouth, emails, PSAs, fliers, newsletters and the camp’s Website