Northwest Assn. for Blind Athletes
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News Releases
Northwest Association for Blind Athletes Kicks Off Camp Spark for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth with Summer Session for Campers with Multiple Disabilities Beyond Blindness - 07/07/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 
Billy Henry, Founder & CEO – bhenry@nwaba.org
Northwest Association for Blind Athletes
703 Broadway, Ste 600 • Vancouver, Washington 98660
Local Phone: 1-360-448.7254 Toll Free: 1-800-880-9837
http://www.nwaba.org
media@nwaba.org

Northwest Association for Blind Athletes Kicks Off Camp Spark for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth with Summer Session for Campers with Multiple Disabilities Beyond Blindness

Vancouver, Washington—July 7, 2024—Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is excited kick off the start of its Camp Spark season from July 5 - 9, 2023, at The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, Inc. in Sandy, Oregon. This first summer camp session of 2024 is tailored specifically to children, youth and young adults with multiple disabilities, in addition to being blind or visually impaired. In its third year, this specially designed week-long session has grown in attendance from six participating campers in 2022 to 15 campers this year. All sports and activities are adapted to the complex needs of the campers. Each camper will work one-on-one with a counselor to guarantee that they were fully engaged in all activities from swimming and riding a recumbent tandem bike to socializing with their peers. 

Camp Spark is a comprehensive overnight sports camp for individuals ages 8 to 21, who are blind and visually impaired. This unique model uses sports, physical activity, and orientation and mobility as a catalyst to encourage leadership, independence, advocacy, and daily living skills that contribute to overall greater quality of life. The campers vary in socioeconomic status, ethnic background, and level of skills and abilities and NWABA offers camp free of charge to youth and their families. 

NWABA will host a total of six additional week-long summer and winter camp sessions in Oregon and Washington in 2024-2025, each with different eligibility requirements, such as age and residence, and will provide different sports opportunities based on the varying seasons.

"Our Board of Directors is extremely excited to offer these truly transformational programs to children and youth with visual impairments. Camp reaches far beyond participating in sports, and acts as a catalyst to help campers gain the confidence, self-esteem, friendships, and independence they need to achieve success in all areas of life.” said Founder, President & CEO, Billy Henry.

Camp Spark is partially funded by the generosity of our individual donors, foundations, state grants and corporate partners; however, additional support is critically needed to deliver a successful camp. Donations to support Camp Spark can be made online at www.nwaba.org/donate or by mailing a check to PO BOX 61489, Vancouver, WA, 98666. For more information on Northwest Association for Blind Athletes, please contact Billy Henry, CEO & Founder, bhenry@nwaba.org or 360.448.7254.

About NWABA: 
The mission of Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is to provide life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. A group of students who were visually impaired formed the association in 2007 to ensure that people who are blind were participating in sports and physical activity. Today, NWABA is a rapidly expanding 501(c)(3) charitable organization that delivers more than 5,000 program and service interactions annually to children, youth, adults and military veterans with visual impairments tailored programming which improves self-confidence and self-esteem, promotes independence, creates an inclusive community of supporters, and builds the skills necessary to succeed in all areas of life including school and employment.

For information: http://www.nwaba.org or

Contact: Billy Henry, Founder & CEO, bhenry@nwaba.org

Phone:  1-360-448-7254

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Northwest Association for Blind Athletes Make Up Majority of Adaptive Athletes Division at Treasure Valley Triathlon   - 06/17/24

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Contact: Stacey Gibbins, Vice President of Programs & Services   
Northwest Association for Blind Athletes  
1444 S Entertainment Ave., Suite 201 | Boise, ID 83709  
Local Phone: 1-208-314-7035/Toll Free: 1-800-880-9837  
http://www.nwaba.org | media@nwaba.org  

Northwest Association for Blind Athletes Make Up Majority of Adaptive Athletes Division at Treasure Valley Triathlon   

Boise, Idaho—June 17, 2024— Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) will exhibit ten teams at the Treasure Valley Triathlon on Saturday, June 22, 2024. NWABA is partnering with the YMCA and Boise Adaptive Snowsport Education (BASE) to provide the opportunity for ten individuals who are blind and visually impaired [nearly double the participation from last year] to participate in this annual community event.  

Ten NWABA athletes (individuals who are blind and visually impaired), along with thirteen volunteer guides will participate in the super sprint category consisting of a 400-meter swim, 9.6K cycle and 2.7K run. One returning athlete/guide duo have conditioned and are leveling up to the sprint division where they will be tackling a 750-meter swim, 20k cycle, and 5k run. Five athletes expect to see skill development, ease of transitioning, and reduced times as they race for the second year in a row, while six others seize their first opportunity to participate in a triathlon by anticipating completion of all three events.  

To prepare the teams for race day, in addition to the participants’ self-training, NWABA held six triathlon training events at various locations around the Treasure Valley. This year, NWABA-guided triathlon training opportunities tripled with the continued desire of blind athletes to develop more advanced guiding, audition, and orientation skills to improve both their skills knowledge and performance. Aside from physical training sessions, NWABA team members consulted with athletes regarding wet suits, other sports equipment and accessories, transition strategies, and risk management procedures. Ahead of race day, the "Boise Crew," [Southwest Idaho athletes and volunteers] look forward to a mandatory logistics meeting at NWABA's second physical office location at 1444 S Entertainment Ave where they will review tactile maps created to represent each event [swim, bike, and run], discuss race day timeframe, summarize items/equipment, decorate 5-gallon buckets used during transitions, and enjoy a pre-race day meal together.  

NWABA athletes aren't the only members of the Boise Crew amplifying; volunteer guides for the triathlon consist of volunteers from the community who also attend NWABA's ongoing, seasonal sport offerings throughout the year. Volunteers are being introduced to and/or refining blindness-specific skills such as using tethers, verbal descriptions, and pro-tactile sign to better communicate with members of the blindness community through a sports sequence such as a triathlon, developed for a sighted world. In addition to volunteer guides, both NWABA team members that work out of the Boise office are participating in the triathlon alongside their athletes making this community race one of the most impactful events of the year.  

Through the support of the YMCA and race sponsors BASE, Higher Ground, TriTown Bicycles, Velocity Clinical Research, Bandanna Running and Walking, and the Boise community, all adaptive participants’ entry fees are waived. NWABA has recently partnered with the YMCA to afford active, NWABA blind athletes discounted gym memberships at all four Treasure Valley locations. The partnership is a step toward encouraging and promoting independence in terms of lifelong, personal health and fitness for the blindness community right here in our backyard.  

NWABA provides life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity to individuals who are blind and visually impaired, offering their own calendar of events throughout the year in the Idaho community, including hiking, kayaking & paddle boarding, tandem biking, snow sports, and other athletic activities.   

About NWABA:   
The mission of Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is to provide life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. A group of students who were visually impaired formed the association in 2007 to ensure that people who are blind were participating in sports and physical activity. Today, NWABA is a rapidly expanding 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides more than 4,500 program interactions to children, youth, adults and military veterans with visual impairments tailored programming which improves self-confidence and self-esteem, promotes independence, creates an inclusive community of supporters, and builds the skills necessary to succeed in all areas of life including school and employment.