By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Registration for the 11th annual DisABILITY Sports Festival at Cal State San Bernardino, set for Saturday, Oct. 7, is now open.
Registration is free to participants, ages 8 months to 84 years old, of all abilities at the DisABILITY Sports Festival, which will run from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Coussoulis Arena, in front of the arena, at the university’s athletic fields, and the basketball and tennis courts. Participants may register online or download the registration form — available in English and Spanish — from the event web page.
Registration will also be held on the day of the festival starting at 8 a.m.
Volunteers to assist at the event are also needed and may sign up at the event website’s volunteer page.
Organizers expect hundreds of participants, competing in at least 20 different sports, including archery, wheelchair and standing basketball, tennis, soccer, wall climbing, skateboarding, swimming and hand cycling. Each sport and activity will be coached by an athlete with a disability, including Paralympians, and other elite-level coaches, which, organizers say, really is a display of all the participants’ abilities.
Also featured will be more than 30 information booths from community programs and services that are available for people with disabilities and their families. Including volunteers, supporters, spectators and athletes, an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 will visit the university on Oct. 7 for the event.
The festival was originally established to increase the sports opportunities for anyone with disabilities and thereby increase their quality of life and health. Since the first event held in 2006, it has grown to become one of the largest cross ability events for people with any disability in the country.
Along with the festival’s growth, it now also focuses on providing access to community resources and educating all participants and attendees on the importance of mental as well as physical health and well-being.
One example of the DisABILITY Sports Festival’s influence: When Judy May, executive director of Desert Ability Center in La Quinta, launched the DisABILITY Sports Festival Coachella Valley in 2012, it was to emulate the CSUSB festival and create an event for people of all ages and all abilities. The commitment of the adaptive sports coaches to spread the word resulted in many of the CSUSB DisABILITY Sports Festival coaches providing coaching services in the Coachella Valley for the past six years.
“The DisABILITY Sports Festival is where friendships are made, ability recognized and where participants can learn of the opportunities open to them,” May said. “It dispels the myth that people with disabilities can’t do anything. Everything is accessible and no one is left out.”
Over the past two years, May and Aaron Moffett, founder of the DisABILITY Sports Festival, have created opportunities for veterans and active duty members with disabilities to experience adaptive sports. As part of their leadership training called Operation Ability, veterans had the opportunity to serve alongside the coaches at the DisABILITY Sports Festival in an effort to demonstrate that they can easily create similar activities to their home communities.
This opportunity is often the first time an injured or disabled veteran has participated outside their home and in their community. May said, “This is the perfect opportunity for the veterans to come out and see just what’s available and how, despite their injuries or disabilities, they are able to actively participate.”
And for those who volunteer at the festival, it’s an eye-opener, said May, whose center will bring bicycles for participants to experience at the festival.
“Many of these volunteers come away awestruck at what the participants can do and how they can be a part of introducing adaptive sports and recreation to children youth and adults with disabilities,” she said.
The festival organizers added: “CSUSB supports this event and this community because it believes that a disability does not mean an inability. That is why the event is run by volunteers from CSUSB staff, faculty, students and the community who give tirelessly of their time, energy, and talents to provide a fantastic event, free to all.”
The DisABILITY Sports Festival is run completely from the donations and support from donors and sponsors. To donate or sponsor, and for more information about the festival, visit the DisABILITY Sports Festival website or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (909) 537-5352.
For more information about the university, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.