PlayLA Youth Sports Summer kicks off
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks officially kicked off the PlayLA Youth Adaptive Sports summer season with Para surfing camps, Para equestrian lessons and wheelchair tennis classes on Saturday, 6 August.
PlayLA’s first Para surfing camp for youth with physical disabilities was held at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, with support from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). CAF instructors worked with five kids and provided an introduction to the sport using adaptive surfboards in an inclusive setting. Para surfing camps will continue at Venice Beach Rec Center on 20 August and 17 September.
Meanwhile, Para equestrian held its first lessons with six kids at RideOn in Chatsworth, after a very successful initial clinic last month that gave participants the opportunity to learn and practice the sport in a fun and safe environment. Para equestrian lessons will continue on Saturdays throughout the summer at RideOn’s facility and will also be brought back every season for eight-week sessions.
PlayLA also welcomed five kids with physical disabilities for wheelchair tennis classes at the Studio City Recreation Center, with support from the Triumph Foundation. The classes are open to both wheelchair and non-wheelchair users to give youth with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in an inclusive and free sports program. The next class at the Studio City Rec Center will be held on 20 August, and the Glassell Rec Center will then host classes on 10 and 17 September.
City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Jimmy Kim said: "We are sincerely grateful to LA28, the IOC and all of our providers and partners for helping us bring PlayLA to life. Through the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Youth Adaptive Sports Program is removing barriers to participation and providing equitable programming for an underserved community.”
PlayLA was launched with an initial $160 million grant from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee to make sports more accessible to kids of Los Angeles and to inspire and foster a new generation of athletes and para-athletes ahead of the Games.
City of LA Principal Recreation Supervisor Laura Island added: “The PlayLA Youth Adaptive Sports Program, a first-of-its-kind in the City of LA, is increasing awareness of the opportunities and benefits that adaptive sports can offer to youth with disabilities. It is incredible to see kids discover and experience new adaptive sports. We're receiving very positive feedback from participants and their families and we’re very excited to continue rolling out more programming, including adaptive skateboarding and blind soccer this fall!”