May 30, 2012

One of Sportable’s Core Values Integrity-Being true to our word and honoring commitments to our athletes, partners, and community.  This is not something that we  take lightly and as we have just honored our veterans on Memorial Day, I felt it fitting to try and relate our values to that  that is carried out by our military.

We may know what the words Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage mean but how many of us can attest to carrying them out on a daily basis?  Instilling these values in the lives of our service members is a fundamental part of their basic training–something we all should be proud of. They define Integrity as Do what’s right, legally and morally.  Further, they see it “as a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.”

Sportable has taken on a larger role in the Greater Richmond community filling a niche that previously did not exist– creating opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to actively engage in sport.  Many of this take this for granted… putting off going to the gym until tomorrow, signing up to be part of a training team next year, etc.

The National Organization on Disability recently conducted a research study and found  that the most common barrier for participation in sports and recreation amongst the general population is “Lack of TIME” — however, for individuals with disabilities it is “Lack of ENCOURAGEMENT” (from community organizations). This idea of encouragement takes many forms, from inclusion in summer camp programs for youth with a physical disability and/or integration into sports events and competitions geared primarily to indivuals without a disability.

We believe strongly that everyone possesses that innate drive to compete and be active–without even taking into account the benefits  that are derived from having had participated ( improved physical, emotionally, social well being).What message are we sending as a community if we don’t seek to create these opportunities for a segment of the population that does want to sit on the sidelines?

It is here that Sportable’s Integrity comes into play and we strive not only to meet the needs of the athletes we serve  but to work collaboratively with our community so that access to programs and events is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. With our knowledge of the modifications and adaptations needed to encourage independent participation, Sportable seeks to bridge that gap in the community while educating our colleagues on how to integrate and provide inclusive programming.  This may translate to the addition of a ramp to a dock in preparation for a local Regatta, or the creation of a division at a local Triathlon–either way, the resource is here…right in your back yard.  We are committed,  we have seen the success, and lives transformed from opening up the doors and encouraging participation. It is as is right, legally and morally…

A Special Thanks goes out to all those that have stepped up in the community to work with us to achieve our mission… Sports Backers, Virginia Boat Club, Richmond Multisports, Richmond Tri Club, Bon Secours Health System, UTURN… to  name a few.

AND more importantly to our athletes who represent us  and the adaptive sports movement well locally, regionally, and nationally!!!