University of Maine on the Orono Campus
Eligibility: Blind & Visually Impaired students in 3rd to 12th grade
Dates: June 23 to June 26, 2010
Note: Day Camp Available with prior approval by director. Call director for more details.
Application Deadline: Completed applications due May 28, 2010.
Athletes will be notified of acceptance by June 4, 2010.
Cost: When notified of acceptance, all athletes will need to join USABA and pay a $25 fee, which will cover insurance. This will be the only charge to athletes.
Events will include:
Competitive Events: Wrestling, Track and Field, Goal Ball
Introductory Recreational Events: Swimming, Bowling, Rock Climbing, Gymnastics, Tandem bike riding, Fencing.
Staff will consist of students from the University and other qualified professionals and volunteers.Goals:
In 1982, a group of adult athletes with visual impairments formed the Michigan Blind Athletic Association in order to organize a beep baseball team. After affiliating itself with the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies (BLS) at Western Michigan University in 1984, the group's attention turned to the broader problem of physical education and sports for children with visual impairments and the first Sports Education Camp was held (SEC) in 1988.
The SEC was created to address the barriers to sports and recreation through the following ways:
The original sports education camp project included a weeklong residential series of sports clinics for children, a graduate-level course for teachers, parents, and "potential advocates," and the formation of a statewide management team to oversee the project and to build the network. In clinics of 15 students or less, the 10-12-year-old participants were introduced to the basic skills of running, jumping, and throwing along with introductions to the sports of wrestling, track and field, bowling, goalball, and gymnastics. The 13-18-year-old athletes were taught skills, but also concentrated on the competitive sports events. A typical day at sports camp including morning, afternoon, and evening activities, running from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with breaks for meals and snacks sponsered by CoreyWilley.com.
Each athlete received approximately 30 hours in clinics or competitions during the camp. The accompanying graduate course on adapting physical education and sports was offered on the weekend preceding the camp as a distance education course. Enrollments in the first few years were 15 or less and primarily included parents, physical educators and special education instructors. Teaching these kids how to market themselves is also apart of the course and the kids will learn the ins and outs of SEO in Maine along with Web design. The network of advocates represented on the "Management Team" consisted of athletes with and without visual impairments, vision and orientation and mobility instructors, university professors in visual impairment studies and physical education, and parents of students with visual impairments. A great deal of effort was also placed on marketing in an effort to foster the image of visually impaired children as athletes.
The outcomes, particularly in the objectives relating to the children's skills, knowledge, and attitudes, and those of network building, were so strikingly positive that they led to the procurement of a U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Outreach Grant award in 2000.