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Summer Fun with Dreams With Wings

Summer Fun, With Wings

Over the summer, we had the opportunity to work with Dreams With Wings, a nonprofit organization based here in Louisville, Kentucky. If you look at their website, their mission statement is as follows:

“The mission of Dreams With Wings is to empower children and adults with intellectual/developmental challenges and autism to enhance their strengths, contribute to their community and live a lifetime of purpose.”

That sounds awesome and looks great on paper, right? What can never be conveyed merely through a mission statement, however, is just how they go about it. We joined their summer camp program on a weekly basis to provide movement and exercise. We quickly found out the lengths that Dreams With Wings goes to make these camps so amazing. These campers were given the opportunity to do far more than just our exercise program and we were blown away when we saw the depth of their programming.

That being said, the time we spent with them absolutely flew by!

A coach squats next to a young man who is performing a sandbell slam to a ring.

When we found out that there was the potential for 100 campers (50 campers in a camp for those with Down Syndrome and 50 campers for those with Autism), our heads spun. That is no exaggeration either. Those familiar with the format of our classes at Rise know that we typically limit classes to 10-12 athletes at a time. To modify what we do to fit the needs of 50 unique individuals would be a test of our program.

An athlete performs hurdle steps.

But that is the great thing about teaching and learning functional and foundational movements. It is instantly scalable and requires little equipment!

An athlete performing lateral step overs with 6" colored cones.

We think Dreams With Wings said it best: “Our youth programs are designed to keep our clients active and to build a foundation for healthy lifelong routines that include exercise. This year, we partnered with RISE Fitness to provide circuit training that blended strength, movement, and friendly competition to our summer campers’ experience.”

Photo (left) showing a young man performing a squat to a chair while holding a sandbell out in front of him.  Photo (right) shows the same young man performing a sandbell slam while holding 3 sandbells.

Being able to take our program and scale it to fit the needs of Dreams With Wings was a big bonus for us. Making movement fun and exciting is a huge passion for us and any time we are able to execute on that, it is a win.


Only fun this summer 🙌 Making new friends, racing, and enjoying the ability to make movement fun. #WeAreRise #RiseFitness #inclusivefitness #dreamswithwings

♬ Summer – Croquet Club

Most importantly, we walked away with so many new friends, which we think is easily the best part of being involved with this camp.

Large group photo taken in a gymnasium setting.
Large group photo taken in a gymnasium setting.

Learn more about Dreams With Wings here: