The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department’s program Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special started over 10 years ago as a cooperative program with the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County.
This free program is designed for children with disabilities aged 6-18 to keep them happy, healthy, and active during the long winter months. It is an open gym environment in which pre-registered kids have the opportunity to play freely, with staff provided by both the County Parks and Boys & Girls Club available to assist them.
It is open to kids with all different types and levels of disabilities, from those who are able to function independently to those who need a staff member or volunteer assigned to assist them. Activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, and basketball to promote exercise and social camaraderie.
Sandy Dorey, Recreation Supervisor in charge of Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s Adaptive Recreation Program, says, “Kids look forward to it all week because it’s an opportunity for them to just come and play. Parents love the program too; some will even take the opportunity to go out to breakfast and do some quick errands.”
The Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special can accommodate up to 20 kids each week. While children in the program are not required to participate each week, individuals do need to pre-register for each week they plan to attend.
The winter Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special program is happening now through March 24, and a second program is offered each fall in October and November. Different programming is also offered during the summer, and Dorey hopes to expand their offerings to include field trips and teen social programs with the kids who have participated in previous programs to help develop their social skills.
Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special is available through open enrollment on the Oakland County Parks website, or anyone interested in learning more can call and register through the main office at 248-424-7081.
This program is free for any child with disabilities. Saturday Sports Special events are scheduled from 9:30-11a.m. Jan. 27; Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; and March 3, 10, 17 and 24 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak.
For more information, contact Oakland County Parks and Recreation at 248-424-7081 or Adaptive@oakgov.com. You can also visit OaklandCountyParks.com.