By Brielle Carter
Program Coordinator, Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center
Those are words everyone wants to hear – GOLD, excellence, commitment – and the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center has done it! In 2013, we were pleased to announce we received a Bronze medal by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). In 2014, we were designated as a Silver Level Paralympic Sport Club (PSC) by U.S. Paralympics.
Our benchmarks have been reviewed, processed, and approved, and Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center has achieved the Gold Level in the Paralympic Sport Club Excellence Program.
In 2014, Vice President & General Manager Gus LaZear said, “We’ve got our eyes on the Gold because that’s where we want to be. Earning U.S. Paralympics designations reflects our team’s hard work and commitment to achieving the highest levels of excellence in every phase of our programming, events and operations.”
U.S. Paralympics has partnered with community organizations in 48 states and the District of Columbia to form a nationwide Paralympic Sport Club network.
The medals, corresponding to the Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels, are given to Paralympic Sports Clubs in recognition of their efforts to advance the growth and development of the Paralympic Movement.
The USOC provides a list of guidelines for Paralympic Sports Clubs to follow in order to advance from bronze to silver and ultimately receive the gold medal. Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center has its staff, members, volunteers and community supporters to thank for the award.
Paralympic Sport Clubs are community-based programs that engage youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities in sports and physical activity regardless of skill level.
There are established benchmarks for each level, including multiple benchmarks within each level for every year. We obtained such benchmarks by participating in a Paralympic Talent Identification Day two years in a row and obtaining Paralympic Sport Coaching certifications, among other requirements.
We will continue to operate our Paralympic Sport Club program according to the benchmarks of the Gold level and uphold to review them each year. We must recertify our current Gold level programming every four years, and will begin the process of eligibility in 2017.
For more information about Paralympic Sport Clubs, visit www.teamusa.org.
For more information about Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center programs and opportunities, visit www.ability360.org/sports.