Josh Edens '17
Before every race he runs, Joshua Edens prints “for those who can’t” on his hand.
The first-year student says he does it as a dedication to special-needs campers he worked with last summer at Recreation Unlimited—a retreat center northeast of Delaware, Ohio—and to all such youngsters who put a great deal of effort into the things they can do with the gifts they have. "They would give anything to run," he says.
Josh, an intervention specialist major from Westerville, Ohio, enjoyed working as an aide in his high school's special-needs unit, so Recreation Unlimited—which provides a camp experience—offered an opportunity for him to expand on his interest.
He immersed himself in his role as a camp counselor, building lasting relationships with special-needs campers. "Duties like hygiene seemed so miniscule in the overall experience because the rewards outweighed the difficulties," says Josh, adding that he was amazed because the youngsters "want to do everything the normal way. They teach me so much more than any of my classes can teach."
Kyle, a young man with cerebral palsy whom Josh now considers his best friend, was among the campers Edens counseled last summer. In September, Kyle traveled from Dublin, Ohio, to watch his friend finish the Otterbein Invitational cross country race in Westerville. "The best part was seeing him smiling as I ran," Josh said.
He placed 14th in that race, and his 13th-place finish at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference meet in November helped Bluffton claim third place in the conference as a team. "My coaches do such a good job of getting me into shape physically, but at the end of the day, it is applying all of that mentally" that determines performance, he said.