ESTEVAN - Hillcrest School had a new experience the week of March 21, when the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association came out to teach students about adapted sports and inclusion for all.
The two sports kids got to try out were sledge hockey and seated curling.
"Eli from the SWSA was amazing at teaching our varying abilities from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The students got to take part in a full 50-minute physical education class. They explored and examined how the sledge hockey equipment works for indoor use and how it would work on real ice," said school principal Kristy Johnson.
The students who got to try adapted sports shared their emotions about the new experience.
Grade 1 student Mason said he liked paddling the sticks fast and sitting in the sled, and his most favourite part was hitting with the stick.
TJ, a student in Grade 2/3, said, "It was fun falling over while trying to balance on the sled. It was way harder than I expected. I want to try this again someday."
"It was not the easiest to do, it was awesome to try this because some people don't get an opportunity to play adapted sports," shared Ellie from Grade 5/6.
Logan and Cyrus from the Grade 7/8 classroom said: "We were surprised that it was harder to get going at first with the sticks. It was interesting trying to figure out all the parts and then putting it together to move and shoot. We were excited that we got to try it out instead of just learning about it. We hope we can try it on the ice someday."
Jaxon from Grade 3/4 said, "The rubber sticks kept slipping and skimming the ground. This made it difficult to move but so much fun once you got the hang of it."
"I liked that you didn't use your legs at all, and you could still play hockey. Everyone who was trying it was at the same skill level since we just learned how to play. This was so fun," said Jaxon's classmate Mathew.
The SWSA was first established in 1977 by five of the founding members who believed that all people should be able to lead active lifestyles.
Over the years, the SWSA has been growing and developing to help support those in the community by promoting sport, recreation, leisure, fitness training and healthy lifestyle activities. Currently, the involvement includes athletics, basketball, curling, rugby, sledge hockey, skiing and tennis, but the areas of water-skiing, and canoe and kayaking, are being investigated. They also partner with para-Olympic athletes and do video calls and conferences for students.
The SWSA has been promoting their sledge hockey clinic for schools to try.
"Hillcrest had a blast playing with equipment," Johnson said. "Hillcrest encourages other people in the community to reach out to learn what is offered and available to help educate the community on adapted sports and inclusion for all."
For more information and inquiries for bookings, people can reach out to SWSA at 306-975-0824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.