Inclusive recreation programs provide the opportunity for people with and without disabilities to participate in the same activity. In order for inclusive services to be successful, inclusion must be a value that is shared by all parties involved.
Whether an after school, weekend, swimming or day camp program, municipal parks and recreation departments, private recreation providers and non-profit organizations offer a range of programs geared to meet the interests and abilities of all participants.
Inclusive Recreation can also be referred to as integration, adapted or accessible recreation programs.
Why should you become involved?
- enhance physical abilities
- increase self-esteem, confidence, and independence
- improve social skills and make new friends
- develop lifelong recreation attitudes and skills
- improve overall quality of life
Planning for Success
Tip #1: Start Planning Early
Tip #2: Choosing the Right Program
Tip #3: Assess the Attitude Towards Inclusion
Tip #4: Consider Support Needs
Tip #5: Provide the Right Information
- What your child may find challenging
- What strategies will help them to suceed
- Your child’s favourite things and interests
- Safety concerns you may have
Without the proper information, the support may not be available to ensure safety and security for not only your child, but also the staff, and the other children in the program.
Tip #6: Get Off to a Good Start
Tip #7: Communication
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Recreation Program
Ask Your Child
- What are you interested in? (Arts and Crafts, Theater, Sports, Music, Outdoors, etc.)
- Do you want to participate in a small or large group?
- Do you want an indoor or outdoor program?
- How close do I want the program to my home or work?
- How long do I want my child in the program for?
- Do I want my child to attend a day camp or an overnight camp?
- How many weeks do I want my child in the program?
- What kind of supports will my child need to be successful?
- What are the special needs that I need to inform the program staff of?
- What are some strategies I can give the program
Ask the Program
- What does a program session look like?
- What training does your staff receive?
- What are the staff to child ratios?
- How does the program ensure the safety of participants?
- What type of support does the program offer?
- What types of activities are planned and what skills do they require?
- Is the site accessible?
- Is the program open to inclusive programming?
- Is the program accredited by any organization?
Remember it’s important to plan ahead. Here is a planning calendar to help.
- Begin searching for your summer camps! Funding options are distributed fast and camps can fill up quickly!!
- Start narrowing down options, and finding out about support.
- Start registering for March Break programs – ask about funding and support.
- Register for March Break programs.
- Municipality summer program and camp guides available.
- Registration begins for municipality spring programs – check your local guide.
- Registration begins for municipality spring programs.
- Register for Summer programs and camps.
- Registration for municipality summer programs – check your local guide.
- Local municipality Fall/Winter Recreation Guides available.
- Registration for Fall Programs (August).
- Begin Searching and considering your funding options. Some applications are available in the fall.
- Fall programs begin.
- Begin registering for Winter Break Camps.
- Winter Recreation Guides available from Municipalities.
- Registration Opens for Winter program.
- Winter Camps available over Christmas Break.