A para-sport program piloting in Greater Victoria will give youths with disabilities in the region the opportunity to try out a variety of activities for free.
Coordinated by One Ability, a collective of regional organizations committed to adapted sport, the 20-week Para PowerPLAY program aims to cut the pandemic blues by getting youth aged 15 to 24 trying out seven para-sports.
“People with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by program cancellations during the pandemic,” said One Ability co-founder Andrea Carey. “So we’re hoping this is an avenue for them to get re-involved – or involved – and get both physical and mental health support.”
On the February to June roster are sledge hockey, therapeutic riding, para-rowing, wheelchair athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and possibly, wheelchair tennis.
Opportunities to participate in many of those para-sports already exist in Victoria, but Carey hopes a free program offering youth a chance to try out a whole bunch at once will convince more to get involved. Ideally, she said, they’ll connect with one and have a new hobby.
“It’s also an opportunity for social connection and meeting a new group of friends,” she said, acknowledging the loneliness many people have felt over the past two years.
The pilot program begins Feb. 5 and runs every Saturday afternoon until June 18. Of the 15 spots available, Carey said seven are already taken.
If all goes to plan and more funding can be secured, the hope is to run the program a couple times a year.
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