Sports Education Camps Objectives
· Provide educational workshops to blind and visually impaired youth in Maine and surrounding areas related to health, fitness and sports programs.
· Provide youth the opportunity to meet world-class elite blind athletes and learn about overcoming obstacles, the importance of discipline, staying in school, etc..
· Provide youth an opportunity to participate in a variety of sports, which they might ordinarily be excluded from in traditional settings.
· Provide blind and visually impaired athletes with the necessary skills to compete on an equal basis with their sighted peers.
· Further involve the local community as volunteers at events, which in turn will promote the abilities of youth with disabilities.
· Be better prepared for competition in USABA local, national, and international events, including the world games and Paralympics.
· Students between 3rd grade and senior year in high school
· Documented visual impairment or blindness
· Desire to learn and engage in physical activities as a peer and role model to others participating
· teach visually impaired and blind youth various adapted sports
· encourage youth to better participate in school physical education classes
· encourage overall physical well- being
The MOBALE/SEC has not only served as an excellent opportunity to involve blind and visually impaired youth in sports, but because of our affiliation with Western Michigan University, we are also able to use the events to conduct a great deal of research on the youth served through the camps. The research done at the SEC's has shown that the skills learned at the camps have had a continuing positive impact on the lives of these youth. In fact, more than 45% of students who attended sports education camp for two consecutive years participated on their home school sports teams. In addition, 80% of these youth participated in their school physical education programs, compared to 27% of blind and visually impaired youth overall.
The research conducted following the 2001 SECs shows that the number of questions answered correctly on the sports knowledge survey increased from 5.8 at the pre-camp assessment to 7.3 at the post-camp assessment. On the sports attitude questionnaire, youth who were returning to the camp for the second time were 42.1% more likely to respond positively to the statement "I know how to change a sport so I can play." This shows that not only are these youth learning skills at the camps, but also they are able to apply what they have learned to help adapt sports to their needs in a school or extracurricular setting.