How and when did Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation (MHASR) start?
MHASR started in September 2013 in Medicine Hat, AB. Tara Chisholm, who was born and raised in Medicine Hat, gathered a group of friends and family with disabilities together that felt there was a need in the community to have people with disabilities participating in sport and recreation activities that are inclusive (for people with and without disabilities). Tara and her fiance, Derek Whitson - a two-time Paralympic athlete in sledge hockey and soccer - started to provide programs with the help of two provincial organizations: The Paralympic Sports Association and The Alberta Cerebral Palsy Sports Association.
Who are the programs for?
The programs are intended for every person in southeastern Alberta (with or without a disability). They are designed so that people of varying ability levels can attend and there are adaptations available, if necessary, so that everyone can participate together. Many of the programs are based on Paralympic sports which are mainly geared towards people with physical disabilities. In Canada, many organizations at the grassroots level have participants join based on a term called reverse inclusion. That means that people without disabilities are participating in what might commonly be known as a sport for persons with disabilities. In smaller centres, like Medicine Hat, this allows more participants to come to programs and can create greater competition and camaraderie in the activity.
What are the different programs that you offer?
For fall/winter we offer sledge hockey, adaptive curling, boccia, wheelchair basketball and an adaptive fitness class. For the spring/summer we also offer paracycling and partner with organization to offer summer camps & children's baseball. For more information on programs please click here.
Why do you charge program fees?
We believe that by charging for a program individuals feel more ownership over that program and helps us to build an attendance continuity in our participant base. Due to the operational costs of running a program, which are often difficult to come by in certain areas of funding, charging for programs allows us to continue to provide quality programming to people. In saying this, we recognize that cost can be a barrier for some individuals trying to access programs so if you or someone you know does need assistance with this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 587-253-5300.
Where does MHASR get funding from?
MHASR seeks out funding mainly through grants and donations with the assistance of the Paralympic Sports Association and the Alberta Cerebral Palsy Sports Association. Partnerships within the community are also a critical piece for MHASR as they recognize the importance of resource sharing and working towards common goals together. It is also within MHASR's goals to work towards building relationships with Corporate Champions who have a vested interest in the work that MHASR does. If you know of any individual or organization that would be interested in talking to MHASR about becoming a community partner or Corporate Champion please contact us by emailing email@example.com or by phone at 587-253-5300.
How can I help?
We are always looking for volunteers in varying capacities. If you are interested in working directly with the program participants, helping our one and only staff, Tara, with different tasks or if fundraising is one of your skills we would love to speak with you! If you don't quite know where you would fit Tara would be sure to find a place where you could help! Trust us! Just as with our programs, we believe that every person regardless of age or ability level has certain skills that would be able to assist our organization. If you are excited about what we are doing a great start would be to tell your friends and family, post our website to social media and help us get the word out about what we do!