Young people on the road to improving inclusion in sport

MORE than 40 people with a disability took the opportunity to learn new skills and interact with their peers over the recent school holidays at the launch of the Community Sports Development Program.

Held in July, the event was a joint initiative between Tascare Society for Children Inc and Special Olympics Tasmania.

The program provided fun and skill development activities over two days for young people aged between six and 16 years living with a disability.

Hobart Basketball Association players and Young Leaders of Tasmania (YLOT) mentored and supported the participants across both sessions.

Tascare executive officer Megan Cunningham said participants were matched with mentors of a similar age.

“This assisted the program’s participants, as well as supported young leaders and basketball players in building coaching skills, leadership and a greater understanding of the importance of inclusion in sport,” she said.

“This event has been made possible by the fantastic community partnerships between Tascare, Special Olympics, YLOT, Hobart Basketball Association and The Parkside Foundation.

“We are very excited and grateful to have the Hobart Chargers players pop in for a surprise visit and run some games and drills.”

The sports camp provided an opportunity for young people with a disability to develop an interest in sport and encourage and promote participation.

The school holiday clinic allowed participants to access sporting and recreational options within mainstream clubs.

The young people who attended the camp – including participants, young leaders and young basketball players – all provided positive feedback about the event.

Ms Cunningham said the YLOT participants were able to extend their experiences and learning from the Future Leader’s All Abilities Program at Southern Support School.

“For many of the young basketball players from Hobart Phoenix Basketball Association, the Community Sports Development Program was the first time they had been provided the opportunity to buddy up with a person with a disability,” she said.

“It was great to see both the YLOT participants and basketball players showing great potential as future leaders and embracing an all abilities community culture and inclusion in sport.

“Some of the young people with a disability who attended the camp are looking forward to joining up with a mainstream basketball program.

“For those who haven’t yet settled for the game, they are keen to see what the next Community Sports Development Program might look like for next school holidays.”

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Caption: Participants during the recent Community Sports Development Program.

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