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Sporting Chance Students Coach at CampAbilities 2014

07 May 2014
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CampAbilities Ireland returned to Killarney where eight students from National Learning Network Sporting Chance programme in Tralee acted as Caras (one to one assistants), coaches and activity leaders for the residential sports and activity camp for children with vision impairments. CampAbilities Ireland is the only such camp held outside of the United States and the week long camp saw 21 children from 10 to 14 years from all over Ireland participate in a range of activities including athletics, rock climbing, judo, snag golf and soccer. The campers also joined the under 12 team of local GAA club Dr Crokes for an adapted training session where they also got to meet Kerry GAA stars Colm ‘the Gooch’ Cooper and Eoin Brosnan.
 
The contribution of each of the volunteers made it a camp to remember and Sporting Chance student Joe Browne was rewarded with a ‘Cara of the Camp’ for his encouragement, support and assistance to his camper. Joe, along with each of the volunteers gave up their whole week to ensure that all campers had the week of their lives.
 
This camp has proven to be hugely successful in increasing the physical activity rates of children with visual impairments. In addition, it has also provided an outlet to greater sporting opportunities, with many of the campers now participating at competitive level in their chosen sport, including a number who have travelled to England to play soccer against an Arsenal selection.
 
CampAbilities is organised and run by the CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre and the Institute of Technology Tralee Tralee in association with the Sporting Chance programme at  National Learning Network Tralee, the National Council for the Blind and Vision Sport Ireland. It provides important training and life skills for the Sporting Chance students in the areas of coaching, instructing, organising and leading sports and activities. It also provides the student with the techniques required to adapt the various sports to ensure that children of all abilities can participate. It is hoped that further camps will be set up in other locations around Ireland with the possibilities of shorter camps for children with more profound disabilities also a possibility for 2015.
 
Further information on CampAbilities can be accessed at http://www.caraapacentre.ie/camp-abilities/.