Thursday, January 17, 2008

Parks & Recreation Inclusion: Isolation Buster

Parks and Recreation inclusion programs are vital survival tools for persons with disabilities and their families. They provide opportunities for fun and a sense of belonging. The Vancouver Clark Parks & Recreation inclusion program provides inclusion mentors (aides) and other accommodations that enable all children and adults to participate in their activities.

Sayer has gone to a Parks and Rec summer day camp for the past two summers, and has also gone to their winter break camps. In these camps, Sayer has gone on tons of field trips in the community, and is treasured by the camp counselors. It's wonderful to see the counselors eyes light up as give him a grand welcome each morning, rather than a look that says “uh,oh, will he cause trouble?” He has also taken gymnastics classes and rock climbing classes – these classes give our Saturdays some much needed structure.

Unlike schools, Parks and Recreation programs serve our children throughout the life span. Teens, adults and seniors with disabilities are all welcome, and such programs provide important respite for parents of older children who need a break but want their children to do something more rewarding than stay home with a caregiver.

But enough words, for a real look at the inclusion program watch this brief inclusion video of the Parks and Recreation web site (look for the "View the Inclusion Video" link). I am a member of the Access to Recreation Steering Committee that guides this program, so feel free to contact me with any questions.

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