The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2011, March 26-27

Clownfish Swim Club

Recreational swim club for children ages 9-21 with special needs. Started 3 years ago with 9 swimmers at the Courage Center and then moved to pools in Eden Prarie, MN to accommodate the growth of the team. We currently have over 30 swimmers with intellectual as well as physical disabilities ranging from Down's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum, Seizure Disorder and Blindness. We have 1 paid coach and 4 volunteer coaches, a volunteer board of directors that manage our 501C3 Non-profit organization. Our success comes from a fully inclusive program where all swimmers are part of the team. Our team moto is Swim, Learn, Have Fun!

What new functionality we are looking for

We need a website to put our practice and meet schedules, photos and on-line registration for fees and donations. We want our swimmers to access through social networks like Facebook. We want to be able to send out monthly e-newsletters.

How the new functionality will help

As we continue to grow in numbers, we find it necessary to keep in touch with our swimmers and member families through internet and email. As we continue to have more swim meets and schedule changes, it's critical that we be able to have one place where families can go to get up-to-date information. Also, being a non-profit, we need to continually solicit for donations. We also need to post board meeting minutes to keep our Non Profit status.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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5 Messages from Supporters

2011-02-08 18:50:46 UTC
Ellie Alldredge

I became involved with Clownfish by becoming a volunteer three years ago. Getting to know the CF kids, families, and coaches has been one the most rewarding experiences. I have been a competitive swimmer for about 7 years, and my experience in the pool has taught me more lessons than I can count. I love knowing that every Saturday that I spend with the Clownfish I am teaching each child how to become a better swimmer, but also how to work hard, be dedicated, and have perseverance. Swimming has meant so much to me over the years, and I can only hope that I am helping these kids benefit from the sport as much as I did. Every week, I am amazed with how strong and dedicated these kids are. I have seen some amazing things from each and every one of them, and they never cease to impress me. I don't know what I would do without Clownfish. It has truly been a light in my life.

2011-02-09 18:19:36 UTC
Abby Pearson (Abby #2)

I started swimming with Coach Debbie at Courage Center. I took lessons from her, and I always complained about not wanting to swim or move much. I would swim one length and get tired. Now, at Clownfish, I am swimming lots of lengths and not complaining. I use to say the water was cold, now I don't even say that!

Clownfish Swim Team is fun, the practices are always fun. I learn to swim and get exercise, but we still have fun. All the volunteers are fun and nice and cute. Coach Debbie makes us all feel special, it doesn't matter if we are good swimmers or not. I use to talk even when I was swimming, now I am calmer, and I think about my swimming!

2011-02-15 02:05:21 UTC
Keith Guggenberger

To our son Kyle, Clownfish Swimming has been a fabulous and enjoyable experience. It isn't the temperature of the "very refreshing pool" that excites him, but rather the spirit and enthusiasm of other swimmers and volunteers. Each swimmer brings not only unique capability, but unique challenges. Coach Debbie recognizes these challenges and adapts to make everyone feel important for whom they are and what they can strive to accomplish. Together she builds a warm and inclusive place for kids to enjoy the sport and adults to be proud. Congratulations to Clownfish for making a difference in the lives of so many.

2011-02-18 23:38:45 UTC
Kaia Burg

I have been swimming with Clownfish a lot, at least five years! I learned the breast stroke, back stroke, freestyle and butterfly. I like the back stroke stroke best. Deb is a great coach! I like my Clownfish friends!

2011-02-24 12:46:40 UTC
Matthew Borchers

I am Matthew Borchers; I am one of the original Clownfish. I started in Clownfish with Debbie at the Courage Center when I was 8 years old in the fall of 2004.
I loved swimming and I had been getting swimming lessons at the Courage Center. I have autism and have always had trouble with motor planning, motor imitation, and motor memory. My muscles don’t remember how to do the strokes correctly. Every time I came to lessons, I looked like I didn’t know how to swim. It would take me 15 minutes to get my muscles to remember how to swim again. I also had trouble getting my legs to stay straight when I kicked. Every time I reached out my hand to swim, my legs bent up underneath me. The Occupational Therapist discovered I had some reflex problems. She taught us exercises to do so I could get better. I did the exercises every day for three years and slowly my swimming got better and better. When I started swimming with Debbie in 2004 I could only swim 25 yards at a time. It took me 42.25 seconds to swim the 25 free in our first Clownfish swim meet. Now I can swim a 25 free in 15 seconds.

The swimming teachers decided to teach me breaststroke because of my reflex problem. In breaststroke when you reach out in front of you, your legs are supposed to bend and come up. The breaststroke soon became my favorite stroke. When I started swimming breaststroke three years ago, it took me a whole minute to swim a fifty breaststroke. Now I can do a fifty in 36 seconds.

Last year I started swimming for the Cooper Boys Swim Team. In Clownfish last summer, Debbie asked me to set a goal. I told her my goal was to swim the 100 breaststroke in one minute and 25 seconds as I knew that was lettering time and I really wanted to earn a varsity letter in swimming. Last summer my best time was one minute and 35 seconds so I knew it would be hard to achieve this goal. When the High School Swim team started, I found out the coach had changed lettering time in the 100 breaststroke to one minute and 20 seconds. I was horrified. I knew it would be hard but I had total confidence in myself.

At the end of the swim season, I got to go to the big sectional swim meet for the first time. It would be my last chance to get lettering time. My only chance would be the 100 breaststroke. I waited through seven events for the 100 breaststroke. As I walked up to the blocks, I felt ready. The starting beep went off and I dove into the pool. I was going really fast, by the end my arms felt like bricks. I tried to stay strong so I could get that lettering time. I touched the wall and looked up at the scoreboard and saw 1:19.30. I had improved by 7 seconds and got a lettering time. I felt so proud. My best time before this meet was one minute and 26 seconds. This year I achieved lettering time in the 100 Breaststroke.

Clown fish means a lot to me because it was my fist swim team. I learned my first competitive swimming lessons here. Clownfish also taught me how to do the butterfly for I had not learned this during lessons. If I had not been in Clownfish and experienced competitive swimming I would probably not have been brave enough to try the high school team. I learned from coach Debbie to have a clownfish heart and to keep trying and never give up and that is one of the most important things you can learn in life.

Our Mission

To provide a swim team environment for children with disabilities. Our goal is to promote a healthy advancement, through physical, social, emotional, recreational and cognitive development. Our emphasis is on a sense of play as well as competitive spirit and we hope to maintain spontaneous and semi-structured activities essential for children.