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      Summer sports camp created for kids with special needs

      For many kids, summer sports camps are the norm, but a lack of opportunity often means that isn't the case for kids with special needs. Carter Holmes is living the dream as he carries the basketball from hoop to hoop at Leaping Beyond Therapy Sports Camp.

      It's a dream that physical therapist Cristina Mayne-Nicholls first had in graduate school at Saint Louis University.

      It was there, she first volunteered at a sports camp for special needs kids, but when she accepted a job as a pediatric physical therapy resident at Allied Therapy and Consulting in Little Rock, she quickly realized it was an opportunity that Arkansas kids were missing."I really felt Central Arkansas could use an intensive therapy program that is designed around sports for kids with special needs over the summer. So, they kind of let me go with it and and let me roll with it and let me follow my dream to create this camp," said Mayne-Nicholls.Lana Evans will tell you that dribbling and passing beats physical therapy every time, but little does she know, she's doing both."Best part of the camp is getting to learn everything about sports and at the end of the day we go swimming," said Evans."I get to work with them in the clinic, and its one on one, but when you bring them out here they have no idea that they're doing therapy," said Mayne-Nicholls.Often these kids don't get the same opportunities to play on sports teams, but this week they learned not only how to shoot but also how to work together."The transformation we've seen from day one to today, I mean, we have friendships created, and the kids are passing the ball to each other, and on Monday they didn't even really know what the basketball really was," said Mayne-Nicholls.This is the first year for this one-week camp, but Mayne-Nicholls hopes to bring it back and maybe even expand it next year.

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