As "40 Years. 40 Stories. 40 Days" winds down, we look towards the future to see what initiatives will be making life better for athletes with disabilities during the next 40 years.
Across the province, new programs are sprouting up on a regular basis. Here's a brief look at a few of them:
Thanks to organizer Lindsay Peake and coach Dylan Young, wheelchair basketball has come to Powell River and is going strong. Not only does the area now have an adult league, but they've also started a junior program. BC development coach Joe Higgins recently traveled to the area to put on a clinic and the Powell River Ravens are now sharing their knowledge by conducting demos, some of which use the Let's Play chairs. Their future goals: to travel to Vancouver to take part in a tournament or BCWSA event. For more information on their program, check out their website here.
You wouldn't think that an town as small as Comox would have a wheelchair basketball team...let alone a women's team...let alone a women's team comprised mostly of women over 50. But that's just what's happened thanks to some local enthusiasm and a few wheelchairs from the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society. Recently, this program was honoured by the BCWBS with the 2010 Outstanding Community Support award. For more information, check out their website here.
In addition to the wheelchair rugby program that already exists in Victoria, Nanaimo recently began their own program. This exciting new wheelchair rugby club is making an intra-island wheelchair rugby league possible and giving Island murderballers more chances to compete and train without having to take a ferry. For more information, please email email@example.com
Wheelchair rugby continues to expand across the province and its most recent stop is in Squamish. Thanks to the efforts of Karen Tapp and Adam Frost, this program seems to be gaining new members each week. To attend one of their weekly drop-in practices, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lower Mainland remains a hot spot for wheelchair sports in the province. For the first time this year, we launched a wheelchair tennis league with both an intermediate and advanced division. The WC Race Series is also providing local clinics, drop-in nights and competitive opportunities for wheelchair racers. In wheelchair basketball, the Tim Frick City League and events like the 2011 All-Comers Wheelchair Basketball Festival are giving newcomers a chance to develop their skills in a fun, supportive environment.
Yes, wheelchair sports are alive and well here in BC and new opportunities to get involved are opening up seemingly every day. Whether you've been out of the scene for a few years and are looking to come back or you've been recently injured and want to try for the first time, we can find a place for you. Drop us a line or visit www.bcwheelchairsports.com.
When we think of the future of wheelchair sports in BC, however, we can't help but be excited about the Let's Play program. This program, which is a joint initiative between the Province of BC, the Rick Hansen Foundation and the BC Wheelchair Basketball Association, is bringing 100 sports wheelchairs for children under 8 to communities around the province. We traveled to Prince George to see how the Let's Play program is making the area more accessible for everyone and filmed this video: