Para NB recently partnered with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to host the first ever New Brunswick Parasport Festival in Moncton at the CEPS, Louis-J-Robichaud on Université de Moncton campus.
There were 18 provincial sport organizations and para sport groups and 12 other exhibitors present at the event offering participants, coaches, parents and leaders program information, instructional clinics and an opportunity to watch demonstrations and try para equipment. Participants tried equipment such as sit skis, boccia ramps, wheelchair basketball and rugby chairs, para-athletics racing chairs, para-golfers, hand cycles and tandem cycles.
Over 50 enthusiastic volunteers attended the event and the Canadian Paralympic Committee has confirmed that New Brunswick had the highest number of participants with a disability who have attended a Parasport Festival to date in all of Canada with over 50 participants with a physical disability! Not only that, but it was a great opportunity to have a large number of para groups and organizations together in one space on the same day for a common goal – to get people involved!
Two examples of success from the event:
A woman who has had a mobility disability for over 20 years got into a sit ski at the NB Alpine station. She started to cry and when asked why, she responded that she couldn’t remember the last time she felt so free. The sport leads at the booth were so touched and told her to just wait until she got out on the ski hill!
One event volunteer said she was new to NB and had now found her community. She can’t wait to start volunteering and thinks she would like to start a club in one of the sports that isn’t in New Brunswick.
Watching participants succeed at an activity they never even knew existed and giving them the opportunity to try equipment which would allow them to explore their potential was amazing to see! The event was a success – bringing together a community, recruiting key players into the para sport community and spreading awareness of the para sports. We continue to hear stories from participants, volunteers and sport leads about their experience and the moments they shared with participants at their stations. The overall atmosphere was positive and there were many smiles on the faces of everyone in attendance.
Testimonial from a Festival Volunteer
I recently had the opportunity to participate at NB Parasport Festival in Moncton and it was a fun and enlightening experience. I was unaware of the amount of sports there are out there for people with physical disabilities. Wheelchair tennis, basketball and cross-country skiing cross training were a few of the sports I attempted and my favorite was wheelchair basketball. The instructors for wheelchair basketball were friendly, informative and, I believe, entertained by my attempts at the exciting sport. Among the volunteers and participants present at NB Parasport Festival were national and international level athletes. Amazing athletes like Dave Durepos, were playing, socializing, and signing autographs. It was an honor to meet a few of Canada’s best athletes. Over all it was a fantastic experience and I hope to be involved with Para NB in the future either through continued volunteering or coaching.
– Kimba Meagher, UNB kinesiology student, volunteer at NB Parasport Festival