Youth Challenge gearing up for Paralympic sports

Participants and volunteers compete in an adapted volleyball game during a Youth Challenge Paralympic sports program.

The Youth Challenge kids are going to be better equipped to participate in Paralympic sports thanks to a grant from Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation Inc. 

The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational awarded more than $924,000 to 49 area charities at the Northern Ohio Golf Charities recognition program recently. Youth Challenge received $9,450 to help purchase Paralympic sports equipment to support their power wheelchair soccer and golf programs. YC brings together children with physical disabilities with trained youth volunteers to participate in adapted sports and recreational activities.

YC has helped children access adapted sports activities for 37 years. With a reputation for providing high quality athletic programming, YC has been designated as the “Paralympic Sport Club – Cleveland” by the U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee. As a Paralympic Sport Club, YC will continue to introduce adaptive sports to children with physical disabilities while also promoting athletics and teamwork. 

YC will offer 80 Paralympic sports activities in 2013, such as swimming, fitness, tennis, bocce, archery, goal ball and camping, among others. During activities, YC will instruct participants in the official rules of each Paralympic sport. This gives all children the opportunity to try Paralympic sports in a recreational setting while also allowing YC to play a part in identifying young athletes who may want to pursue competitive sports. Children interested in competition will be referred to partners such as SPIRE Institute in Geneva and Wooster’s Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio for their team offerings.  This will serve as a pipeline for U.S. Paralympic athletes.

“As a Paralympic Sport Club, YC is committed to putting our best foot forward in introducing children to new recreational and competitive sport opportunities,” says Chris Garr, director of program services at Youth Challenge. “We’re grateful for the support of Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation.”

To provide Paralympic sport programs, YC will work with the U.S. Paralympics, as well as with other groups in the area.  These may include Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio, SPIRE Institute in Geneva, and the Wheelchair CAVS, to name a few.  Local sports facilities, such as the North Olmsted Golf Club and Washington Park Golf Course, will help YC offer Paralympic sport activities throughout the year.

Kathy Rigdon

is the Media Specialist for Youth Challenge in Westlake.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:43 AM, 04.02.2013