It was a marvellous day of sports and physical activities for around 80 Mount Isa school kids living with disability last week, as they got involved with the Variety Active Kids Sports Day.
The students, from four local schools, visited Mount Isa Basketball Association on Thursday, August 3, to trial a range of sports.
The event is a free program for kids aged between five and 17-years-old, that aims to achieve greater inclusivity and participation in sports.
Variety QLD's Head of Kids Support, Angela Haines, said it was a wonderful day as the kids had the chance to try out netball, rugby league, basketball and more.
"It's all about promoting greater inclusivity in sports for children living with disabilities," she said. "So, they can participate ongoing and reap the mental, physical, social benefits that doing a physical activity can give them.
"We're all about just trying to close the gap in the participation rates ... getting more kids with disabilities into playing sports.
"We gave a great day to those kids and connecting them into a local sport now, after the event, which is what it's all about."
The kids learnt about the sports and how to play them alongside the support of specialised coaches and athletes from major sporting organisations, including Netball Queensland and Queensland Rugby League, and volunteers from Mount Isa City Council.
All of the kids who participated live with a physical, sensory, cognitive, or intellectual disability.
Since 2019, Variety Queensland has held more than 17 Variety Active Kids Sports Days to over 1798 kids across multiple Queensland towns, including Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay, Cairns, and Toowoomba.
Variety brings these sports directly to the doorstep of kids who would otherwise miss out on the opportunity to participate in sports.
"We had such great feedback. The teachers were commenting that they didn't know that their students could do what they did," said Ms Haines.
"There was just lots of smiles, lots of laughter. We even have an impromptu stretching exercise session at the front at the start, where they could come up to the microphone and do a stretch for everybody.
"And then at the end, we had a bit of a dance concert. So it was lots of fun."
Mount Isa is the program's most regional destination to date, with the aim of fostering a lifelong love of physical activity among regional kids with disabilities and promoting the important message of inclusion within their communities.
Ms Haines said Variety would love to bring the program back to Mount Isa next year, pending funding.
"That was the most remote place we had been, from being based in Brisbane," she said. "It's obviously costly to get out there, but we would love to.
"We'd love to get back out there next year and deliver it all over again."
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