The Natalie Bolin Swim Camp is held every summer in honor of Natalie Bolin who lost her life in a tragic car accident seven years ago on her way home from a swim meet. Over six days, August 7-12, Campers will experience long distance swims, canoeing, kayaking, running, and hiking.
The Natalie Bolin Swim Camp is funded by the Natalie Bolin Memorial Fund. People who have been touched by Natalie’s spirit fundraise to ensure that the camp can be provided at no cost to the participants. It is a physically demanding camp offered to High School aged swimmers who are capable of long swims (2+ miles in open water) and long hikes (3-6 hours). The deadline for application is June 25th. There are 20 spots available and the hope is to include swimmers from 8-16 different teams.
The camp has been running for 16 years. Bolin attended the camp for 6 years. Maggie Werba, a University of Minnesota junior, attended the camp every summer before college from 2009-2014. For the past seven years the camp has been renamed the Natalie Bolin Swim Camp to honor Bolin’s spirit. “The difference between camp in middle school and the Natalie Memorial Camp is that at NKB Camp you meet people from other teams around the country and focus on doing community service work, team building, and creating new bonds more than ever before,” explained Werba. “NKB Camp is an incredible opportunity to spread Natalie’s encouraging and optimistic spirit to people throughout the country.”
The Oshkosh YMCA Swim Team wants to honor Natalie’s spirit by continuing what Natalie did in both life and death, bringing people together. The purpose of this camp is to gather swimmers from other teams and forge bonds that will connect them with other swim teams.
Werba was fortunate enough to swim with Bolin. “Natalie was on my team back at the Oshkosh YMCA growing up. My favorite memory of her is actually the night before the car accident… we were doing a 400 IM set which was a big deal for me as a 12-year old. Natalie, being the incredible leader she was, told me to keep that smile on my face and push through the set, that there was a reason I was doing that practice with the older kids and it’s because I could do it. She was so encouraging.”
“My favorite memory from NKB Camp is sitting on the floor of the packout house with everyone attending camp playing card games-we were all so competitive (naturally, as swimmers), but able to have so much fun together.” Werba reflected on her time at camp, “After only a few days together we all were able to have a blast doing something as simple as playing a card game. I met some of my best friends at that camp and am forever grateful for the opportunity to attend.”
Extra Camp Info:
- It is a camp for anyone – past participants have been 6:30minute 500 swimmers, Olympic Trials qualifiers and even NCAA National Champions. There have been participants from all over the country.
- NKB Camp is for people that love physical challenges, the outdoors, and working as a part of a group.
- NKB Camp is a great reward at the end of a season and a great way to refresh and renew your passion for swimming
- The camp staff is made up of former camp participants, OSHY coaches and immediate family members of Natalie.
- There is no cost to attend Natalie Bolin Swim Camp. Participants only need to get to Oshkosh or coordinate with camp staff for an airport pick-up – either Appleton or Milwaukee.