Thursday, September 4, 2014
Seeking to give special needs children more sports opportunities, the Georgetown County Parks and Recreation Department will hold a Kickball 4 the Kids day at 8 Oaks Regional Park in Georgetown from 9-12 a.m. on Sept. 6.
Georgetown County students with disabilities in grades K-12 are encouraged to participate in the program that Georgetown County Parks and Recreation Department’s youth sports specialist Justin Blomdahl hopes will encourage friendship and sportsmanship, and lead to other sports programs for school-aged children with disabilities.
“This is going to be great. We are really excited to start this program and get it going,” Blomdahl said, crediting local resident and sports enthusiast Kelli Jayroe for getting the kickball rolling.
“I was in Sumter for a work meeting, and I picked up a local magazine with all these pictures of special needs kids playing kickball and it just spoke to me,” Jayroe related.
She had never heard of any similar activities in Georgetown County, she said, and contacted the recreation department, which quickly paired her up with Blomdahl to bring kickball to the county.
Jayroe, thrilled that Blomdahl has embraced her vision, is hoping for a large turnout so the county will be encouraged to add more sports for special needs children as the program progresses.
“I would be ecstatic if this program takes off,” she said. “I hope we have at least 30 kids come out on Saturday.”
Blomdahl, a 2008 Waccamaw High School standout soccer player, has come home to Georgetown County after receiving a degree in physical education and leisure services from Newberry College.
“I came home to start my career because I wanted to give back to a community that supported me while I was playing sports as a kid,” he said.
A Pawleys Island resident, Blomdahl hopes to bring sports of all kinds to all children throughout Georgetown County.
“We wanted to make sure that we were incorporating adaptive recreation in to our programs,” Blomdahl said.
“Kids love kickball, so that is where we started.” Blomdahl explained that the new program will be offered at more than one recreation facility in the future, once interest and participation are assessed.
“I am hoping that we will have good interest in the program so that we can move inside during the winter months and utilize some gym time and diversify the sports we offer.”
In adapting the kickball program for children with disabilities, Blomdahl explained that only a few minor changes are necessary.
The ball in some instances might need to be punched or thrown rather than kicked, and it might need to be placed at home plate rather than rolled.
“The adaptations must be made to suit the student’s abilities, rather than their disabilities,” Blomdahl said.
For more information, parents of students with disabilities can contact Blomdahl by phone at: 843-545-3319, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 Oaks Regional Park is located between Georgetown and Andrews on Highmarket Street, and Saturday’s program is free of charge.