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Monday, February 6, 2023

WDSRA: The power of partnerships

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What do you get when you bring together the City of Naperville, the Naperville Park District and the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA)? You get a top notch regional event held right here in Naperville.

The Chicagoland USA Boccia Regional Tournament was held at the Fort Hill Activity Center September 24-25, 2022. This event gave athletes from all over the Midwest the opportunity to compete in tournament play.

What is boccia you ask? Boccia is a highly competitive Paralympic sport. The game is designed for people of all ages who are (typically) wheelchair users. The object of the game is to throw or roll leather-like balls so they land as close as possible to a white target ball (called a “Jack”). Each side has 6 colored balls (red or blue). Those athletes who are unable to propel a ball under their own power are afforded the assistance of a “sport assistant” and boccia ramp to assist them in propelling the ball onto court, though the athlete maintains complete control over aim and strategy decisions.

Athletes compete within classification groups, based on functional ability, meaning they play against individuals with similar physical functionality. Boccia can be played as an individual, in pairs or teams.

How does partnership come into the picture? Synergy Adaptive Athletics, the adaptive sports arm of WDSRA, not only fields a boccia team of athletes but also hosted the event. Synergy staff coordinated the space, the volunteers and USA Boccia sanctioned officials. The Naperville Park District provided dedicated space for the two-day competition.

In addition, a grant from the City of Naperville’s Special Events and Community Arts Program (SECA) took this event to the next level. The SECA grant was used to purchase equipment that created an outstanding experience for all the athletes. We were able to purchase pipe and drapes to offer a defined call room (required to host a regional tournament), large court signs (used on the court and at the awards podium), ball roll kits and scale, medals and banners, and other items necessary for tournament play of this caliber.

Perhaps most importantly was the addition of television monitors enabling athletes to view for themselves how much time they have left on the clock during their play. In the past, they relied on individuals with stopwatches to provide the remaining time to athletes. The screens put control back into the hands of the athletes because they now could concentrate on their strategy without interruptions. That gave them control over questions, play and adjustments during the limited time allowed.

Overall, the SECA grant was used to purchase equipment that elevated the level of play and created an outstanding experience for athletes. Being good stewards, some of the items purchased will also be used at future tournaments and for other sports.

It’s the power of these partnerships that made this possible!

To learn more, visit www.wdsra.com or call 630.681.0962.

Sherry Manschot
Sherry Manschothttp://www.wdsra.com
Sherry Manschot is the Marketing/Public Relations Manager at Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. She can be contacted at sherrym@wdsra.com. Learn about WDSRA at www.wdsra.com.

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