Courage Canada School Learn to Skate Programs
Courage Canada youth learn to skate and play Blind Hockey programs are full-day field trips where participants go on a sensory tour of the arena, and learn about the rules, history, and equipment involved in hockey. They are taught basic stretching techniques, provided with skating and hockey equipment, paired up one on one with a skating mentor and participate in a one hour on-ice session where we provide either a skating or hockey curriculum depending on the age and skill-level of the group.
On the social side, in addition to learning on-ice skills the youth participate in off-ice workshops on themes such as courage, leadership, advocacy, and living a healthy active lifestyle that feature inspiring guest speaker role-models. Participants are provided with lunch, and have the opportunity to interact with peers who also have a visual impairment, which is often too a rare occurrence for many students and can greatly improve social skills, confidence, and self-esteem. An important part of our mission is to help instill strong leadership characteristics such as courage, confidence and sportsmanship both on and off the ice in both the participants and the surrounding community.
Why Kids Who Are Blind Need A Separate Learn To Skate Program
Because of the nature of their disability, many of these youth do not have any understanding of Canada’s great game of hockey. Many participants do not have a concept of the size of an arena, what a hockey stick feels like, what size a puck is, what ice feels like, or what an incredible activity gliding across the ice on skates is, and how fun and rewarding playing with a stick and puck can be! On the flip side, many of the participants are hockey fanatics, they are able to recite countless stats about the game and follow their teams as fervently as anyone, yet have never been given the opportunity to try and participate themselves because of their disability.
It takes a person who is blind up to eight times TRYING a physical movement skill to get the same understanding of that skill that a sighted person gets from simply SEEING it performed once. For this reason, it can be difficult to include them in traditional physical education classes and activities such as skating and hockey without having someone there to provide one on one support. Courage Canada wants to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for these youths through our off-ice workshops, and by showing them they too can participate in sport, recreation, skating and the great game of hockey.
Each participant is provided with their own Courage Canada hockey jersey to keep, and the impact it makes on many of them is quite apparent. It is almost always the first hockey jersey they have been given or even the first sports jersey they have received, and the first time they have been part of a team. Courage Canada’s long term goal is to offer every youth who is blind or visually impaired in Canada the opportunity to have that sense of satisfaction, excitement, and belonging – to provide them with the opportunity to join the Courage Canada team!
Courage Canada offers its school learn to skate programs at absolutely no cost for participants. We rely 100% on corporate support and donations to run our programs. To support the Courage Canada mission please inquire about sponsorship opportunities or donate today.