By Christian Guerithault
1. Students of all ages enjoy field trips to Ability360.
2. Most come during the school year, some come in summer.
3. By encouraging physical activity, the camps boost students’ quality of life.
4. Ability360’s Sarah Howser hosts summer camp this July.
Field trips can be fun for students and they can also provide individuals with experiences of a lifetime.
Ability360 hosts about 60 or more field trips for schools and students of all ages per year.
Angie Caruso, an Adapted Physical Education Teacher (APE) from the Scottsdale Unified School District had a lot to say about Ability360.
“Ability360 is a resource for our students for a lifetime,” Caruso said. “It exposes them to the facility and their parents become aware of the organization because they have to sign off on their permission slip.”
Ability360 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Sara Howser oversees the visiting field trips.
Howser said schools that bring their students for field trips to Ability360 come from all over the valley.
“We have different school districts that come; we have people from Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Mesa and Peoria,” Howser said. “Schools tend to repeat themselves by coming back to the facility again and again.”
While the school year is the most popular time for field trips, they happen in the summer as well.
“In the summer we are hosting a 360 summer camp, which is going to be July 5-7 from 10:00am to 2:00pm,” Howser said. “We have after school programs that still come in during the summer to utilize the facility for their field trips as well.”
Howser said students of all ages are welcome.
“Our most popular age group has to probably be youth, however we have done field trips for youth all the way to high school and we also have after school programs… [for] older individuals,” Howser said. “For instance, we have had a school that came in and some of the visitors were around 40 years of age.”
Caruso said her students have a wide variety of disabilities.
“My students have disabilities such as autism, visual impairments, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, etc.,”
Caruso said. “This past year, we brought along APE coaches. These are nondisabled peers in their grade level who volunteer to coach the students. Both the coaches and students benefit, and the APE coaches now fight over who gets to go on the field trips.”
Howser said that everyone is included in field trips without regard to disability. Field trips are all inclusive. Ability360 gives schools multiple options for activities during field trips.
“They have an option to choose from facilitated court activities, facilitated pool activities, the rock wall, dance and movement, fitness and movement, and martial arts,” Howser said.
Caruso said helping students to become physically active is very important.
“Being physically active contributes to both mental and physical health and wellness,” Caruso said. “If the students can find enjoyment in being active, it impacts their quality of life in such a great way. The most important aspect of my job is to find potential outlets for my students to become physically active for a lifetime. Ability360 is an excellent avenue for that.”
Scottsdale Charros and the Charro Foundation, as well as the Davignon Charitable Fund, play very important roles in field trips.
“The Davignon Grant helps with transportation, the school will get their own transportation but we’ll reimburse them,” Howser said. “The Charro Grant is for the Scottsdale Unified School District only; we sponsor their whole entire field trip.”
Caruso said all of their field trips were funded through a grant from Charros.
Christian Guerithault is a Senior at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. He majors in Sports and Media Studies through ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Christian is a native of Phoenix, Arizona and has two older brothers. He loves the NBA, NFL, soccer, and the UFC. Christian hopes to one day work in the front office of a professional sports team.