WMU News

Sports camps offer athletic training for visually impaired

April 19, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Eighty young blind and visually impaired athletes will converge in the coming weeks on Flint and Kalamazoo for the 13th Annual Sports Education Camps for Youths with Visual Impairments.

The camps, which help visually impaired youths develop their athletic skills, take place April 30-May 2 at the Michigan Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Flint and May 3-6 at Western Michigan University.

Athletes will work on a broad range of skills. Youths 10-12 years old will attend a basic camp in Flint where they will learn fundamental athletic skills such as introductory running, jumping, throwing, swimming, gymnastics, exercise, wrestling, bowling and goalball. Then students ages 13-16 will come to WMU for an advanced camp designed to teach intermediate competitive sports and recreation skills including track and field, swimming, gymnastics, wrestling, bowling and goalball. Everything culminates in the Michigan State Games, also at WMU, which will offer students the chance to compete both as an individual and on a team.

The camps are jointly sponsored by the Michigan Blind Athletic Association, the WMU Department of Blind Rehabilitation and the Michigan Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Organizers also are looking for volunteers to help stage the camps. People who enjoy children or sports are needed for a variety of tasks, including coaching, dorm counseling, sports skills instruction, guiding athletes to events, keeping scores or times and running errands. Especially needed are dorm counselors, runners, track and field athletes, swimmers, gymnasts, wrestlers, aerobics leaders and lifeguards.

People interested in volunteering or who would like more information may call Paul Ponchillia at (616) 387-3449 or Sue Ponchillia at (616) 387-3450.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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