Aspiring youth on road to games
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Written by Cherryl Thompson, Sport Development, Parafed Bay of Plenty
Extra ordinary kids doing ordinary things, just like everyone else. Quite often people with a disability are described as being inspiring for their efforts and achievements. Their achievements may well be inspiring, but this is not why they set out to do something like sport.
Recent research shows kids participate in sport to have fun, play and to hang out with family or friends (1). Disabled kids are the same - they just want to be like everybody else.
Throughout 2018 Parafed Bay of Plenty has set out to provide a programme of regular sport and activity for youth. Physically disabled young people aged between 8 and 21 meet at least once a month to have fun, learn new skills, make new friends and join other clubs and communities to participate in sport.
Rather than only inspiring others, here at Parafed Bay of Plenty we’re supporting young people to aspire to their potential. It’s all part of a new programme called Parafed BOP – Aspiring Youth. The programme supports young people to participate in school sport by training school staff in the inclusion of all students in all school PE activities and sport. We also assist with personal training programmes and coaching in Para sport (sport specifically for disabled people), or in community sport – adapting to play in club sport.
We currently have 19 members throughout the Western and Central Bay of Plenty with a focus to move into Eastern Bay in 2019. Twelve of those Aspiring Youth are now training for the next eight weeks as they prepare to attend the national Halberg Junior Disability Games in October.
The Halberg Games will be staged at King’s College in Auckland, and will host 20 different sports in a Paralympic style village. Athletes will represent their region, and stay and eat onsite as they compete against their peers over three days. There will be an official opening ceremony, lighting of the flame, athletes, oaths and awards before the whole event finishes with a closing ceremony.
Our youth will also feature at Anchor AIMS Games this September in AWD (athlete with a disability) Table Tennis.
Since April, Aspiring Youth have completed gym sessions, cross country, track and field training, badminton, table tennis, Boccia, and futsal. Before heading off to King's college in October they will also complete sessions in gymnastics and cycling, and the north cluster will host wheelchair basketball as part of their winter sports competition.
By creating opportunities in school, with Sport Bay of Plenty and throughout clubs in the region, and nationally with Halberg and the upcoming Anchor AIMS Games, we’re ensuring Bay of Plenty physically disabled youth can do what everyone else does.
1. Sport New Zealand (2017) Active NZ main report – the New Zealand Participation Survey: https://sportnz.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Main-Report.pdf
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