BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — For kids with disabilities, it’s difficult to participate in childhood milestones the same way as their peers. From classroom accommodations to limited extracurriculars, these young people sit on the sidelines more often than not.
Camp Abilities works to change that for blind, visually impaired, and deafblind children and teens.
Held on SUNY Brockport’s campus every summer, Camp Abilities is a weeklong educational sports camp that provides one-on-one instruction.
To celebrate 25 years in business, the camp is hosting a 25-hour marathon game of goalball with campers, coaches, and organizers.
This marathon game will match the current Guinness World Record for longest goalball game, which is 25 hours and 30 seconds.
Goalball is a team sport created specifically for blind and visually impaired athletes.
In the game, players don blackout goggles, divide into two teams of three, and attempt to roll a noise-making ball roughly the size of a basketball past their opponents goal line.
The game will occur in the middle of the June 26 to July 2 session, going from 3 p.m. on June 30 until 4 p.m. on July 2.
Goalball is the most popular team sport for visually impaired people, and is played annually in the Paralympics.
The game is played on a volleyball sized court, and players navigate using raised lines of rope that are taped to the court. Players can use all parts of their bodies to block the ball, and frequently lay or crouch on the ground to assist in blocking.
Three Paralympic goal medalists — Calahan Young, Tyler Meren, and Mindy Cook — will be attending the game alongside other members of the community.
Camp Abilities focuses on teaching children and teens how to self-advocate and get opportunities to participate.
“Being denied involvement in typical physical activity and sport is a common occurrence for youth with visual impairments,” camp founder and SUNY Brockport Distinguished Service Professor Lauren Lieberman stated in a press release. “Our program helps them overcome the negative stereotypes that plague them on a day-to-day basis.”