The idea for the fundraiser scheduled for Aug. 14 at the Charlestown retirement community to benefit the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 219 on the Maiden Choice Lane campus came from an unlikely source.
Michael Bodley, 19, is a Catonsville resident and a rising sophomore at Elon University.
He is studying journalism at the private, liberal arts school in North Carolina and came home for the summer to complete a communications internship with Erickson Living, the company that owns Charlestown.
As part of that internship, he was offered a chance to come up with his own public relations campaign.
"Erickson gave me this really unique opportunity," Bodley said. "I'm not the intern who makes the coffee and answers the phone.
"I was given completely free reign to come up with whatever I wanted," Bodley said. "And the idea was that it would benefit the community and it would give back."
A lifelong swimmer, Bodley decided he wanted to hold a lap-a-thon at Charlestown's new pool.
"The pool had just opened back in the spring and we wanted to showcase that," he said.
"The idea is that participants will gather pledges," Bodley said. "And they'll pledge X amount of dollars for however many laps they wish to swim."
Proceeds from the event, deemed Swim for Service, will go to the VFW post.
Bodley said he wanted the event to benefit a local organization and figured that it couldn't get more local than one right on campus.
"I think it's a great, great chance to work with the VFW post and give back to the community," he said. "It's been great working with them so far, just for a good cause."
He said while only about a dozen participants have signed up so far, he's working with a number of local swim teams to send swimmers to join the event.
After reaching out to a number of Catonsville businesses, Bodley said the local EmbroidMe franchise at 6600 Baltimore National Pike is providing more than 100 T-shirts for event participants.
Bodley said he was glad for the chance to plan a fun, family event that will benefit a group in his hometown.
"It's not competitive," he said. "We really wanted to make it a fun event where people can show up, throw on a bathing suit, grab a pair of goggles and hop in the pool."
Swim for Service will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14. For details on how to register, go to http://www.SwimforService.com.