Over 30 Years of Sports Training
Ability First Sports began in 1985 at California State University, Chico through the Physical Education Department to educate and train physical education professionals to proactively include adapted sports and recreation in schools. As a leader in the industry, Ability First emerged as an annual summer youth sports camp to develop recreational and athletic opportunities for youth with physical disabilities. Since then, Ability First Sports has provided sports instruction and training to over 1,000 wheelchair athletes in the Western U.S. who can benefit from sports instruction to develop an active and healthy lifestyle.
After over 30 years of coaching youth in adapted sports, Ability First Sports is positioned as a regional leader for adapted sports summer camp experiences where youth learn to develop an active lifestyle through sports instruction and coaching. Over the next few years, Ability First Sports is developing a destination adapted sports campus to bring wheelchair athletes to year-round experiences to develop independence, endurance, strength and leadership in their communities for health & wellness. Ability FIrst continues to train families to advocate for equal particpation and inclusion in sports and recreation.
We Focus on the Individual
All athletes are given information about being physically active, their rights to be included, and the impact it has on their personal health and quality of life. Our instruction is not just focused on sports, but also on the impact things like nutrition and good grades have on participation in sports, the ability to play sports in college on scholarships, opportunities to travel the nation and world through athletics. We encourage our athletes to be as independent as possible and try to prepare them for the world where they will at some point encounter exclusion and/or discrimination. We try to eliminate barriers by providing the adapted equipment, conduct low/no cost programs, and by collaborating with local organizations in order to increase the number of (inclusive) sports opportunities provided in a community.
We Focus on Community
Our coaching staff and counselors at Ability First are actively involved in helping to train future teachers and therapists entering the field of Adapted P.E. and Therapeutic Recreation. We work closely with the teacher preparation programs at CSUC, Butte Community College, Butte County Office of Education, and Chico Unified School District. Teaching about disability in a non-traditional, sports setting provides a unique experience where trainees are taught how to adapt activities and situations in a way that they typically would never get in a controlled college classroom. We recruit and educate youth without disabilities to take part in our program to incorporate inclusion and break down misconceptions that individuals with disabilities are different than “them”. We also work with local and state-wide programs in order to support their efforts to offer inclusive and adapted sports and recreation opportunities.