So what’s it ALL about?
The Watersports Inclusion Games are fast approaching on 24th and 25th June, and its all about ….well, watersports for ALL!
Organized by the Irish Sailing Association in liaison with Spinal Injuries Ireland, Canoeing Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts, Dun Laoghaire Sailability and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, this landmark event is enabled by the funding of Sport Ireland Dormant Account Sports Inclusion Fund and is being hosted by Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire together with resource support from all the Dun Laoghaire sailing clubs. The event celebrates inclusive Sailing, Canoeing and Rowing, and looks to bring together people of all abilities from the physical, sensory, learning and intellectual ability spectrums, and those from disadvantaged areas who cant easily access watersports, for an exciting weekend of fun, try-sailing and games competition.
The occasion of this event is an opportune time for those of us working and volunteering in the sailing sector to consider our role in expanding the availability of sailing and sail training to cater to a more inclusive audience. It is a prime opportunity to analyse what we do, identify improvements in terms of inclusive offerings, and begin to break down barriers by opening up a dialogue between potential participants / representative organisations and watersports providers.
As those already active in the discipline of inclusive sailing, in particular the Sailability initiative, will testify, this is far easier than one might imagine as where there is a will there is always a way and, as so often in sailing, most likely numerous ways! As a club/centre, what can you do to cater to a wider scope of participants? How can one tailor watersports offerings to especially include those who cannot easily access our sport? And as the post-recession watersports wave slowly augments, how can one give a little back within the community?
The Watersports Inclusion Games aim to be an exemplar in this respect. This premiere national event is a first for Irish Watersports and aspires to the following:
- Provide a landmark occasion celebrating Irish Inclusive Watersports (specifically Sailing, Canoeing and Rowing in this inaugural year).
- Act as an exemplar of the inclusion training potential within watersports clubs and training centres nationwide for those centres looking to embrace inclusion and equal access to watersports.
- Promote awareness of available inclusive watersports opportunities within Ireland to people with disabilities and from disadvantaged areas and thereby open up communication pathways between those who aren’t successfully accessing watersports due to perceived barriers and the increasing number of organisations who are improving their inclusive scope. This is now more possible than ever as we in watersports embrace the societal shift towards the inclusive mindset ever more prevalent in everyday living.
So how can you support this event?
- Spread the word among groups and organizations who might be interested in participating.
- Celebrate with us over the weekend by attending the shore EXPO and festivities.
- Volunteer water-side, ashore, or perhaps as an ISA or Canoeing Ireland instructor on the water (instructors past and present are welcome).
Free Inclusion Training will be provided to registered volunteers in advance of the event, full details available on www.sailing.ie/watersportsinclusiongames/
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on booking for the event as attendee, participant or volunteer.
Yours in sailing for all,
Johanne Murphy – ISA Inclusion Games Officer and Instructor Trainer