Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) joined forces with Short Breaks Fund, Wheelpower and the Big Lottery to run a residential sports summer camp for 35 young people with a physical or sensory impairment at the all-new sportscotland Inverclyde Sports Centre. The aim of the camp is to introduce participants to a range of activities in a fun, active and safe environment.
All sessions were led by qualified coaches currently involved in the Scottish Disability Sport programme and supported by SDS staff and a raft of skilled volunteers, including this year Colin Hardie – making a return after debuting in 2016 – and Chris Purcell from Celtic FC Foundation who brought a high level of enthusiasm and coaching expertise to proceedings and ensured the participants were engaged and tested throughout.
The young people were divided into three teams for all activities which included adapted cycling, archery, watersports at Castle Semple – with thanks to Dave Hill and his team there – and a very enjoyable cryptic orienteering course where each youngsters individual skills were utilised to the maximum. Another highlight was the ‘SDS Superstars’ session which served to demonstrate the fact that fitness suites and gyms should not solely be the province of the able-bodied, and indeed, with the very simplest of adaptations you can have meaningful and testing fitness activities in a fitness setting for all ages and abilities. The youngsters also had opportunities to complete significant tasks working collaboratively to achieve a successful outcome in various sporting and team building activities. An interactive quiz was fiercely contested on the second evening with participants answering questions on a range of subjects to find out who the 2017 Summer Camp Eggheads were.
The final activity of the camp involved a squad from the 207 Battery, 105th Regiment Royal Artillery delivering an action-packed programme of activities that challenged the children to problem-solve, organise, take the lead and demonstrate their discipline and confidence at learning new skills. It was a first for the SDS Summer Camp and was universally praised by the participants and staff alike. At the end of the camp the participants enjoyed a final lunch with the new friends they had made over the duration of the camp and winning team was announced following the addition of all the points scored on the individual activities.
The feedback from participants and parents has been extremely positive and the participants gained so much from the refurbished Inverclyde venue and the activities on offer. The camp is scheduled to take place in 2018 on 11-13 July at Badaguish, Aviemore, which offers a very different, yet equally rewarding experience for participants.
Mark Gaffney, Events Manager for SDS, said “We are indebted to Short Breaks fund, the Big Lottery and Celtic FC Foundation for their continued sport of the SDS Summer Camp. The young people have gained confidence and competence across a number of areas which will benefit them hugely in pursuing sport and physical activity at a recreation, development or performance level. They’ve also had to learn to work collectively to achieve a common goal. The element of competition between the three teams ensures that each individual works to their maximum potential. Every individual has learnt a new skill or had a new experience and this is in thanks in no small part to the support we receive from all our funders and the magnificent staff and volunteers that all help make the camp what it is”.