Sat. April 30th. PSC Soccer Centre, Pickering.
Around 40 delegates attended a one day event to learn more about inclusive sport in Ontario and the wider impact of the Canadian Sport for Life Model (CS4L) in Canada. All Abilities program Founder Franco Taverna, Though Leader Dave Sora and Program Coordinator Wendy Cates provided a full day of guest speakers. I got the sense that a lot of the information being presented was new to the vast majority of delegates who ranged from; soccer club leaders (Kleinburg Nobleton SC and Newmarket SC) to staff from Pickering Parks and Rec and the Abilities Centre, Whitby with good representation from college and university sport programs (kinesiologists in particular).
The morning session focused on the Canadian Sport for Life model delivered by Drew Mitchell, CS4L Director, Physical Literacy. Delivered in two parts, the first part brought the group up to speed on the concept of physical literacy and the growing need to build a physically literate, durable population. The second part was of great interest to me as Drew took us on to the field and walked through the 18 measurements within the Physical Literacy Assessment for Youth (PLAY) tool. The tool can be used for anyone from the entry level participant to elite performers with the caveat that a rubric at the higher level would include greater specificity. Tests include; catching, kicking and hitting a ball; running, hopping, skipping and even galloping! It is being used in more and more communities including school boards where, most recently, the City of Aurora will have all Grade 2 students tested for baseline data. For athletes with a disability the discussion centered on the use of tools for wheelchair users or someone with a more severe disability. It was explained that the tool is made relevant to the participant with notes taken specific to them; it’s not a comparison tool to be used from athlete to athlete.
Christine speaking with Drew.
The University of Toronto’s Dr. Kelly Arbor, Faculty of Kinesiology presented findings on work being carried out in the area of physical literacy followed by Dr Meghann Lloyd, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) who shared some fascinating findings on the improvement of behavior for children on the Autism Spectrum connected with physical activity. Both doctors acknowledged that these were early results in the course of their research but more promising evidence pointing to the need for more inclusion of people with a disability in physical activity programs.
The day wrapped up with a great presentation from Archie Allison, Director, Access and Awareness at Variety Village in Toronto. I’ve known Archie for a couple of years now but never seen him presenting. It was therefore interesting to hear him share just a sliver of his 30+ years’ experience working at Variety Village. Archie made the focus of his presentation on communication, from the way VV markets itself to the things we say and the assumptions we make about people on a regular basis. The art in Archie’s work is to truly understand the needs of his clients and to reflect that need in the way he responds and treats them. Truly an inspiration.
Jessica Geense, Coordinator with ParaSport Ontario refreshed people’s memories of the ParaSport webinar held in November 2015. Talking about the structure of para sport but importantly focusing on the need for awareness around accessibility and the simple mistakes people can make. (Sledge hockey in a facility with no ramp access was one).
Congratulations to Jennifer and Marina from Pickering Soccer Club who, as always, provide great support and energy in pulling these events together.