Featured, Stories - November 14, 2023
Inclusion Sports Day
Breaking Barriers, Building Smiles
Young people with disability ditched the sidelines to take part in a celebration of inclusivity and empowerment. Intereach recently partnered with Disability Sports Australia and local schools to deliver the Activate Inclusion Sports Day (AISD) in Albury.
Aimed at giving young people with disability the opportunity to try sports they might otherwise miss out on the event went beyond expectations, becoming an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. The day has left an indelible mark on the hearts of participants and volunteers alike.
Adapted games made sure all attendees could take part, turning the event into a wholly inclusive experience. For participants requiring additional help, our Intereach staff provided assistance and encouragement, enabling active participation.
Intereach played a pivotal role in making the AISD a roaring success. Volunteers Sue Beddowes, Chloe Butters, and Chelsea Beddowes, joined forces with Disability Sports Australia staff to set up on the day, providing a seamless experience for all. The team supported many participants who have often been stuck on the sidelines by ensuring each person felt included and empowered.
Through coordination and running of the activities, the focus was not only on physical engagement but also on creating an environment that nurtured courage, particularly for those initially anxious and hesitant to join in.
A key highlight was seeing soccer played, bringing a unique twist as young people, some running and others in wheelchairs, played side by side as teammates using a large inflatable ball in addition to the regulation soccer ball.
Intereach Community Linker, Sue Beddowes, said “Promoting inclusive sport means ensuring that sports are accessible to all, not just modified.
“Sport can be a powerful resource for children and young people with disability, but a lack of opportunities, particularly in rural and regional areas, or difficulty accessing the ones that do exist, can prevent them from taking part.
Sue Beddowes - Community Linker
“Days like this one are a step towards addressing these barriers, so that more children can benefit from being involved in sport whether in school, in the community or all the way to elite levels.
“Teachers we spoke on the day told us how being involved in sport had helped their child develop friendships, supported their identity development as a disabled person and built confidence and independence. One carer said that getting their child involved in inclusive and accessible sport was one of the best things they could do for their child,” Sue said.
The outcome of the event was nothing short of incredible. Smiles, hugs, and high fives filled the air as students bid farewell, with children excitedly shouting our Intereach staff members’ names and waving goodbye all the way to the bus in the parking lot.
The resounding success of the event echoed in the positive responses from both children and teachers. AISD was not just about sports; it was a testament to the power of inclusion, leaving an impact that will continue to resonate within our community.