What Does Inclusion Mean to You?
We typically don't meet a lot of resistance to the concept of inclusion; on the surface, it's a mission most people can get behind. But on closer inspection, many well-intentioned efforts barely qualify even as integration, much less true inclusion. And the difference between inclusion and integration is significant.
If you're interested in promoting inclusion in sports, the first step to take is to make sure you understand what that truly means, to you and to the community. With a little extra thought and attention, big strides can be made.
What Are Adaptive Sports?
A key to inclusion in sports is making the sport adaptive, which means showing flexibility to the differing needs of all bodies and minds. There are many different ways to do this. Sometimes this adaptation is a physical change to the tools or gear that enable the sport, like adaptive surfboards and automatic ball feeders for golf. Other times, the adaptation is more philosophical, like adopting more inclusive game rules or requirements to allow for more participation. Regardless of the type of adaptation, the goal is always the same: to enable people with disabilities to experience the fun, the challenges, the health benefits, and the camaraderie that come with sporting activities. These are major dividends in favor of individual wellbeing that come from comparatively small alterations to the status quo.
For years now, Coastal Adaptive has been doing our part to engage the community through adaptive sporting, but we are not doing it alone. It takes a village, as they say, and our village is active. We are so privileged to work with incredible participants like Mary Gainey and volunteers like Andy Johnson, who help make each event lively and often life-changing. It truly is the people who make us what we are. Less immediately, but no less directly, much of our work is benefitted by our collaboration with the folks at the Adaptive Surf Project and in concert with the many similar organizations and movements across the world. From regional groups like ours to the larger foundations that help fund them, like the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, momentum has been building year after year, and we can't wait to see where it's headed.
Our Community Events
If you're excited about it too, we hope you'll join us for one of Coastal Adaptive's many adaptive sporting events. Anyone and everyone is welcome in our village, whether you'd like to participate in some sporting fun, volunteer to help make events happen, or simply share the joy and cheer participants on as a spectator. We know the experience will be one you want to return to again and again. We have a Wheel-to-Surf event coming up on August 26th in Surfside Beach, SC, and we are always updating our calendar with new opportunities to come play. Riders and volunteers can sign up here. We can't wait to see you there.
Inclusion in sports doesn't need to be a confusing or stressful thing. In fact, every event we host, we all leave feeling invigorated and ready for the next one. It's the kind of activity that just builds excitement and anticipation like that. See you on the beach!