SHSRM and Overcoming Barriers Host Third Annual Adapted Sports Day


 

Adapted Sports dayOn October 25 and 26, the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management teamed up with the Department of Kinesiology and the Overcoming Barriers Team to host the third Adapted Sports Day, a two-day event that allows middle school through college-ready students with disabilities to participate in adapted sport activities.

In 2013, Dr. Thomas Moran, from the Kinesiology Department and Dr. Josh Pate, from SHSRM wanted to take the small events that the Overcoming Barriers Team puts on every week for people from Rockingham County and upgrade it so it reached people from beyond Rockingham County area. They received an Idea Grant from the President’s Office to create this special event.

With the overall goal of enhancing diversity on campus, Pate said another goal was to “[show] middle school and high school students with disabilities that college [and sport] is an option for them.”

In the Fall 2014 Adapted Sports Day, the weekend began with a social event at the Women’s Soccer game versus the College of William & Mary. After the game, the participants were able to go onto to the field and kick around some soccer balls, while also meeting a few of the members of the Women’s Soccer team.

The next day, Saturday, participants were able to attend the main event, an adapted soccer clinic. And as a new activity, participants were invited to do the rope course at University Park.

Volunteers for Adapted Sports Day came from all over campus and Pate says that the events would not be possible without the help of the other departments on campus and the donations from local businesses. SHSRM donated soccer balls for each participant, the Athletics Department donated their facilities and put the participants onto the Jumbotron during the soccer game, and UREC also donated their facilities. Dominos supplied pizza for the soccer game social event and Chipotle and Costco donated food for the soccer clinic.

“It’s just really awesome to see all those pieces come together for an event like this to come together,” said Pate.

Not only do the participants have positive responses to the event, volunteers report to have a fulfilling experience working as mentors to the participants or mentees.

“Honestly, it’s just very rewarding,” said the Overcoming Barriers Director of Outreach, Sarah Miller. “I have a big passion for being with individuals with disabilities. And I think seeing them succeed and having the opportunity to be involved… [It] brings joy to me.”

Both Pate, Miller, and another one of the directors, Richelle Villa spoke about the happiness that they were brought when they saw parents of the participants becoming emotional when they saw their children doing activities that they had never been able to do before.

“One of the things that we wanted to get out of this was not only to show the participants that sport is an option and college is option, but to also show the parents that their child is capable of playing sport, but their child is also capable of being college eligible, college ready,” said Pate.

Pate and his colleagues plan to continue having adapted sports events; their next event is their Spring Ability Olympics event where multiple Olympic games will be replicated all over campus.

To learn more about volunteering, please contact the Overcoming Barriers Office at overcomingbarriers@jmu.edu

Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Last Updated: Monday, November 7, 2016

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