Introducing Team All Abilities
September 6, 2017
To a lot of people, being on a sports team or having an after-school activity is an essential part of their childhood. The benefits to participating in recreational activities go beyond physical and emotional. Getting out of the house, socializing with new friends, and being a part of something that is bigger than you is the greatest benefit of all. That sense of belonging is what makes us feel like we are important to and valued by others.
For many, the opportunities to take part in a recreational activity or sport are innumerable. That being said, it’s important to note that a person with a disability typically does not have this same experience. While the aspiration to be on a team or participate in an activity is there, the opportunities to do so aren’t always. Be it the lack of capacity of the recreation sector to deliver quality and preferable programming, the lack of specially trained personnel, or the lack of understanding of needs and abilities, there is a gap in the rate of participation between people with and without disabilities. Several community organizations such as the Town of Parry Sound, the YMCA, Community Living Parry Sound, and Parry Sound Bikes, are leading the initiative to address and close this gap.
The purpose of the partnership, aptly named Team All Abilities, is not to convene or create sports leagues and activities solely for the use of people with disabilities. The purpose is to make the sport and recreation sector and, ultimately, the community more inclusive to people of all abilities. Increasing participation in sport and recreation is seen as a shoo-in way for the lives of all people to drastically improve. Team All Abilities will optimize the knowledge and capacity of everyone involved in the sector so that leagues and activities are well equipped to offer programs to people of all skills and abilities.
Decades of facing barriers to participation in physical activity has created a population of people who no longer seek recreational community involvement. The lack of awareness of the barriers people face continues to stand in the way of full participation in sport and recreational activities. Team All Abilities will ensure that recreational activities are reshaped to fit the needs of all participants and through the establishment of a network of community connections, raise awareness.
The Town of Parry Sound’s recreation department has collaborated with Team All Abilities by creating a survey that will establish the baseline data that both the town and the project need to accomplish their goals. The survey will allow its administrators to see what kind of activities people participate in, what they would be interested in participating in, where people find information about activities, and what sorts of barriers to participation they experience. The data pulled from this survey will help to inform the decisions and plans of action that the partners make from here on out. Team All Abilities is a collective initiative, and its success is contingent on understanding the needs of the community. With your help, we can build the capacity of the recreation sector to optimize inclusive opportunities for people of all abilities. With your help, we can ensure that every person in Parry Sound lives a wholesome life and feels as though they belong.
Join the Team All Abilities roster and take the survey today! https://goo.gl/forms/umnEJXDel9dm56Hr2