It was all fun and games at CARSA at ParaSport Education Day. An Open House was held at the fitness facility at UVic for the public to try many adapted sports and activities, including wheelchair basketball and tennis, and to talk to educators about the facilities available in Greater Victoria.
It was all part of ParaSport Development Week in Greater Victoria which started on November 15 and will run through to November 21. Victoria Wheelchair Sports Club and OneAbility, supported by partners Vikes Athletics, Camosun College and PISE have put together a diverse selection of activities and demonstrations at many recreation facilities in Victoria, including wheelchair basketball and rugby programs at PISE and wheelchair tennis at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre.
The Open House will be an annual event, says Andrea Carey from the OneAbility organizing committee. “Our goal is three-fold – to increase awareness for parasport in Greater Victoria, to educate practitioners in the health and fitness industry, and to connect the different organizations involved in parasport,” she said. Triathlon Canada, Power to Be, MOVE Adapted Fitness and Rehabilitation Society of BC, Recreation Integration and Live It! Love It! Foundation also took part in the afternoon’s activities.
A keynote address preceded the Open House, by Jeff Scott, wheelchair rugby athlete and co-founder of Live It! Love It! an organization that provides outdoor recreation opportunities for the disabled. Scott was left a quadriplegic after a snowboarding accident in 2010. Through sheer determination and a positive mental attitude he has been able to participate in sport, attributing his recovery to the facilities in the community. “I started with a program at PISE that has grown over the last three years and it has given me the ability to train and play with other athletes,” he says. “The support has kept me positive and I am very excited to support the facilities at CARSA and PISE.”
Rugby is Scott’s passion and he has no intention of switching sports, as he lists the next few months of tournaments leading to National competition next year. His other passion is his foundation: “We focus on those with spinal injuries and getting them active. What better way than to get them into sport?”
Awareness of parasport is the key focus and Carey believes that two events on Friday and Saturday will engage many people. “We have the sledge hockey demo on Friday before the Grizzlies game, and then the wheelchair basketball demo before the Vikes women’s basketball game on Saturday. It is important to emphasize that anyone can try adapted sports and it’s a fun able-bodied sport as well.”
There is still time to take in some of the activities during ParaSport Development Week. On Friday (November 20) at 8 pm at Cedar Hill Rec Centre there is wheelchair tennis. The sledge hockey demo will be at the Grizzlies game, also on Friday, at 7 pm at the Q Centre. On Saturday (November 21) at 2:45 pm at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre the public are invited to try sledge hockey in addition to a public skate. That evening at 5 pm the wheelchair basketball demo will be at CARSA.