2019 SPECIALized Summer Sports Program

Every child has the right to enjoy the fun of playing sports, the joy of teamwork, the achievement of hitting a ball, making a goal, or crossing the finish line. Whether part of a team sport or enjoying an athletic activity geared for individuals, all children can benefit from the camaraderie, self-esteem, sense of belonging and accomplishment that comes from playing sports. This includes children with special needs.

Last year, we partnered with the Defiance Area YMCA to develop a sports-based summer programs for kids ages 9-18 called: SPECIALized Sports ~ Fun for all disABILITIES. This summer, the weekly sports schedule will be as follows:

  • Kickball: Wednesday, June 5th
  • Basketball: Wednesday, June 12th
  • T-Ball: Wednesday, June 19th
  • Soccer: Wednesday, June 26th
Click HERE to download a copy of the registration form and waiver.

The kids (and volunteers) had a great time last summer learning, practicing and playing the various sports each week. Click on the videos below to watch highlights from last year’s SPECIALized Summer Sports Program.

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Play Video
Ultimate Frisbee
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Play Video

Many times, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can plague children with disabilities. These week-long sports camps will utilize games such as basketball, soccer, and baseball to help enhance and strengthen their self-confidence, gross motor skills, social and communication abilities, as well as improve their emotional health and well-being. Being part of a team can help kids bond and develop friendships outside of sports.

Gross Motor Skills The ability to perform controlled movements that require large muscles is known as gross motor skills. Movements that involve using the large muscles include walking, running, crawling or jumping. Often, children with special needs lack the ability to perform physical movements properly. When disabled children participate in regular physical activity, it enhances their motor skills by increasing their strength, coordination, flexibility and balance.

Communicating and Socializing Disabled children frequently miss out on social activities, impeding their ability to better their communication skills. Participation in extracurricular activities can overcome this obstacle, providing them with the ability to engage in social interactions, develop friendships and initiate social skills.

Self-Esteem and Academics Children who suffer with disabilities often struggle with a lack of self-esteem. They frequently will compare themselves with their able-bodied peers, giving them a decreased sense of self-worth. Recreational participation promotes their self-concept, self-esteem and self-worth, as well as their body awareness. Many children will also show improvements in their academics. The confidence that is gained from the ability to attain success in sports will make them feel like they are capable of achieving almost anything.

Emotional Benefits There are some major issues that many disabled youth will at some point experience. Having disabled children take part in a recreational activity can aid in preventing different emotional conditions, including negative behaviors, depression, trouble adjusting to certain situations, stress and anxiety. Providing them with a certain amount of activity can assist their bodies and help them to function optimally.

We are very excited about what these summer sports programs have to offer and can’t wait to start. You won’t want to miss it!

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