Chatham-Based Summer Camp Hosts Special Day for Kids Who Are Blind or Visually-Impaired
(09/21/19, Chatham, NY) – A group of children and teens with vision impairments from the Northeastern Association of the Blind (NABA) in Albany will be coming from as far north as Amsterdam and as far south as the Kingston area to a unique summer program in Chatham that specializes in serving people with disabilities. The STRIDE Center for Outdoor Recreation Education (SCORE) at 2182 State Route 203 will welcome the youth on Saturday, September 21st with a day of adaptive archery and yoga.
The goal of the program is to introduce the youth to new and fun activities and give them a chance to learn and experience the same recreational opportunities as their sighted peers. Archery for visually impaired requires special instruction. Certified archery coaches, lead by TSG (retired) Timothy McDonough, one of STRIDE’s Wounded Warriors; the students will use beeper sound targets and specially adapted bows for hitting the marks. TSG McDonough has competed and coached Paralympic athletes at the Warrior Games all over the world and will assist the students to learn the sport the way Olympic blind athletes shoot. Along with McDonough, two other certified archery coaches with disabilities, and an adaptive yoga teacher will lead the activities.
According to Mary Ellen Whitney, Founder and CEO of STRIDE, programs like this are important because many communities lack accessible outdoor opportunities for people with disabilities. Whitney founded STRIDE to make the Capital Region a more inclusive community where public schools lack. “No one deserves to be left behind because of a disability. STRIDE is happy to introduce under-served residents to the great outdoors and an active lifestyle.”
STRIDE’s Program Director, Megan Evans, explains that the SCORE Camp in Chatham is uniquely equipped to provide unforgettable experiences for people with special needs. “Our Camp Director also has a disability (spina bifida) and this helps the participants to relax knowing that they are with a peer who understands what they have to go through. He attended a summer camp like this when he was a kid, and it was one of the highlights of his childhood. His enthusiasm percolates and the kids replicate the same positive energy. We also have adaptive equipment that helps make physical adjustments when necessary. With the right environment and gear, almost anyone can enrich their life with fun activities like archery and yoga.”
During summer months, the SCORE Camp runs themed weekend programs, including a “boot camp” where kids with disabilities pair up with combat-injured veterans and camp outside in tents; “Music & Movement” weekend for kids with autism, and many other fun camps. Many other sport programs are available year-round including skiing / snowboarding and sled hockey. Plans are under way for STRIDE to open the Capital Region’s first adaptive community and fitness center. More information on STRIDE programs and the people with disabilities they serve is available on the web at www.stride.org.
ABOUT STRIDE ADAPTIVE SPORTS
STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides over 11,000 adaptive sport and recreation lessons each year to individuals with disabilities, focusing on youth and combat-injured veterans. STRIDE utilizes over 300 skilled volunteer sport instructors; serves over 2,000 families; and offers programs in more than 18 different sports at 26+ regional locations in the Northeastern US. With a focus on individual lifetime sports, our programs use specialized equipment or teaching aids for successful participation to “level the playing field” for all. More information is available at www.stride.org.