Eight-year-old Samantha Morris was all smiles this week as she got to kick a soccer ball for the very first time.
The young Columbia Elementary School student actually spends much of her time in a wheelchair or using her special walker to get around.
So because of that she doesn’t often have an opportunity to take part in some of the sports and activities her classmates regularly enjoy.
However thanks to a partnership between the Penticton and Summerland Special Olympics program and School District 67, this week 36 students with diverse needs had an opportunity to try their hands and feet at some really fun things at the Special Olympics BC Youth Try-It-Day.
“Special Olympics has donated their time, their coaches, t-shirts, snacks and medals and basically the premise is for kids to have fun and try sports they’ve never tried before,” said Susan Thomson, director of instruction for School District 67, who was on site at the field at Queen’s Park Elementary School for the three-hour program. “All of our kids here have some challenges and sometimes kids don’t have the opportunity to participate, today they do have the opportunity and we’re hoping this is our first of many.”
At the end of the day each of the participants received a “sport passport” highlighting the events they participated in along with a ribbon.
Sports during the event included basketball, bocce, soccer and a fun fitness session. Participants got to spend about a half hour at each of the stations.
Nicole Morris spent the morning at the school grounds watching her daughter Savanna enjoying herself.
About the importance of the event she said: “I think just all the special kids getting out together. Savanna really likes playing sports but has a hard time keeping up with typical kids so this is much easier for her.”