Newsletter: Vol. 4, No. 1 – August, 2020
SUMMER SPORTS EDUCATION CAMP - VISUALLY IMPAIRED ATHLETES GO VIRTUAL Just as the MOBALE board was gearing up with plans for the 2020 SEC, New England shut down as COVID-19 struck. It seemed that the SEC would have to be cancelled but everyone put their heads together and came up with a VIRTUAL SPORTS CAMP. Six athletes came to “Zoom” camp for three mornings and got to know each other through ice-breaker and social activities. SEC volunteers lead the athletes in strengthening exercises, yoga, and karate. On the last day, they participated in balance and endurance challenges. A special guest, Mark Lucas, president of the USABA, joined the group and talked about and answered questions about the many and varied types of athletic activities that blind and visually impaired participate and compete in throughout the country including water skiing and biathalons, a sport that combines Nordic skiing and target shooting with a rifle!
A HUGE THUMBS UP and thanks to Alicia Stevens, for all her hard work to organize and monitor all the “Zoomers” throughout the event. Thanks also, to the many volunteers who ran the activities and cheered on all the athletes. CONGRATS to all the athletes, who did a great job keeping up their spirits for this unique event. AWARDS WENT TO: Strongman: Donovan Casse, In the Zone: Sam Cassellius, Most Enthusiastic: Liam Marchesi, Karate Kid: Ben Shamberger, Team Captain: Kayla Giroux, Parent of the Year: Zach Johnson. YOU TOOK IT ON AND GOT IT DONE!
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Sydney MasonEvery year, athletes are asked what their favorite activity is at the SEC, and karate is always high on the list. For the past, 9 years, 17 year-old Sydney has volunteered at the SEC, starting out as camp photographer and gopher. But for the last 3, she has been our martial arts Sensei, which means “teacher”. At age 5, inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, Sydney began karate lessons. Now, after years of hard work, she is a second degree black belt in Kempo Karate, black belt in Korean Sword and blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu and has won numerous awards at competitions all over New England. “When I teach people with visual impairments, it makes me think really deeply about all of the moves…I have to use my words at all times”. It is a challenge because Sydney usually relies on students observing and replicating what they see her doing to learn positions and moves. Virtual camp brought a greater challenge in that she could not provide physical help to the athletes. She also got a little taste of what it is like not having visual cues, because she could not see the athletes on her screen. This year was “definitely different…I relied completely on the other volunteers”, Sydney remarked. Karate is very accessible to people with visual impairment and SEC athletes are inspired by Sydney’s dedication to the sport and her high expectations for them to learn and achieve. And, she is their most enthusiastic cheerleader! An unquestionably worthy role model and tireless helper, we are proud to honor and award Sydney Mason, the MOBALE SEC 2020 Volunteer of the Year. Best of Luck in college!
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