Special Olympics Massachusetts: Unified Sports
Westborough Wallabies/Blue Sharks is a Special Olympics Massachusetts program supported by the Westborough Recreation Department throughout the year. The program raises all of its own money, through donations and fundraising, to support its teams. There is no cost to participants. Westborough Unified Sports is open to children with intellectual or developmental disabilities ages 7 and up (who are called "athletes") -- and to volunteers ages 12 and up who want to support the athletes in learning the sports . We currently offer programs in Soccer, Basketball and Swimming. Each season runs for 8-12 weeks, with weekly practices (drills and scrimmages amongst teammates). Two competitions take place during each season – an Area Qualifier and a Special Olympics Massachusetts State Tournament. The formation of teams depends on the number of athletes available in each age group.
The Unified Dance program will teach children with and without disabilities to combine dance and exercise as a healthy and fun activity. Dancing while exercising helps self-confidence and body awareness. Our program will focus on proper technique , form, and fun as we learn in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment. Our students will learn to safely stretch and condition while improving agility and strength, which is beneficial to preventing injury and increase performance in all sports. Join us as your child learns to exercise and boogey to all their favorite songs! All are welcome!
Unified Sports is an initiative that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition dramatically increasing inclusion in the community. Unified Sports athletes improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, challenge the competition and have fun, too. Unified Sports® is an important program because it expands sports opportunities for athletes seeking new challenges and dramatically increases integration in the community. Unified Sports® is a unique and important program because it: • Integrates athletes with and without challenges in a setting where all athletes are encouraged to improve their skills. • Prepares athletes with higher level skills for participation in school or community sports. • Increases public awareness of the spirit and skills of individuals with challenges. • Enables Special Olympics athletes’ families to participate as team members or coaches on Unified Sports® teams. • Enables athletes to develop friendships and an understanding of each others’ capabilities through a spirit of equality and team unity.
How it Works: A Special Olympics Unified Sports® program can be conducted in a variety of settings including: • A program organized by a Special Olympics group. • A community or church sports program, such as an adult softball league or YMCA volleyball league. • An interscholastic or intramural afterschool league at the junior high school or high school level • A part of the league system at a local bowling alley • An independent league sponsored by businesses or civic groups. • A program in cooperation with a local recreation and park association.
Coaching & Volunteering Teams are coached by adult volunteers or WHS seniors. Training is provided through Coach’s Training Sessions which are offered year-round by Special Olympics Massachusetts. These sessions provide information on selecting and grouping athletes, new practice activities and sport knowledge. Unified Sports Partners are peers without disabilities who play on the teams with athletes. Partners must be the same age as athletes, and be able to understand their role as a supportive teammate. They actively play on the team during practices and tournaments. Limited space is available to partners. Sibling partners are given priority. Must be 12 yrs or older. High School volunteers are also needed to assist coaches, give one-to-one assistance to athletes, help at tournaments etc. Volunteer commitment is one hour a week for the duration of the sport season.
- Westborough Residents and prior athletes/partners given first priority
- After registering with Westboro Rec, you must fill out the Athlete or Volunteer Application forms (see below) and return to Westboro Recreation office or to firstname.lastname@example.org. You CANNOT participate in any events until those forms are filled out. The Athlete and Volunteer Application forms are valid for 3 years or until the volunteer turns 18.
- This year all participants must also fill out the Code of Conduct & Risk Assessment Form. This form must be emailed to email@example.com or given to Ilyse at the first practice. The link can be found below.
- Questions: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Soccer: Saturdays Sept 11—Nov 6
- 9:30-10:30am, Hadley Field
- Dance: Saturdays, , Sept 11-Oct 30
- Senior Center
Additional Forms and Files: