USA Patriots Kids Camp underway in Fond du Lac

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Kids Camp is underway in Fond du Lac this week. Hosted by the USA Patriots Amputee Softball Team, the camp is for kids who are living with limb loss. But camp is about more than just the field of play.

The ball field at Lakeside Park is full of sluggers this week as the USA Patriots hosts its annual Kids Camp in Fond du Lac. This is the first time the camp, for kids living with limb loss, has been held in the Midwest.

According to team physical therapist, Jess Bosquez, “We have all different types of kids here this year - little older, little younger, upper extremity, lower extremity, some are congenital so they were born that way, some are traumatic injuries, a little bit of everything.”

The 15 campers are working, learning, and playing side-by-side, not only with kids who are just like them, but also veterans who lost limbs serving in the military.

USA Patriots player, Cody Rice, says, “It’s good, seeing them out of their shell, having one, being one with the other kids. This is the normal here, everyone has amputations. So, nobody is different, we’re all the same and it’s just incredible to see. I love it.”

While softball and a little kickball are the focus of the week, the campers are learning more than just on-field skills. Some are experiencing the joy of playing ball for the first time ever, while others are learning how to use adaptive equipment. But, the experience to take the field with kids and adults -- who are just like them - without judgment is one of the biggest thrills.

“It’s been really fun. All the coaches are really funny and you can tease them and they don’t really care. Everyone makes fun of everyone, but it’s all fun. Everyone just really loves each other. It’s just really fun,” says camper, Cami Wood, from Indiana.

The fun and excitement of camp reaches its peak on Saturday. According to camper, Chase Merriweather from Pennsylvania, “My favorite part is going to be the big game. I can use all of my training that I’ve used this week to put it into a real game.”

Campers will take to Herr Baker Field at Marian University to play in front of a crowd. It’s all part of a day of events, including a motorcycle ride, a parade, and a game where the USA Patriots will take on family members of the fallen.

“The talent that they have and overcoming the things that they have in life is so amazing and I hope everyone can come out,” adds USA Patriots team member Rob Vande Zande.

Gates to the games open at noon on Saturday, while the memories made at kids camp will last forever.

Click here for information about Saturday’s games and other events.

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