For the second year in a row, the CNY Family Sports Centre hosted the Empire State Games for the physically challenged.
Held last Wednesday, this one of a kind program offers young people with physical challenges an opportunity to compete in adapted sports.
"This is a wonderful program for kids in this area," said Marilee Keast, director of the Empire State Games for the physically challenged, who dressed as Bubbles the Clown for the event. "It's a way for them to get out and participate in a variety of sports including archery, golf, basketball and ramp bowling."
Founded in 1985, the CNY program was originally held in DeWitt. Due to increasing popularity, the games were moved to the CNYFSC two years ago to accommodate the growing crowd. This year's turnout had 350 people, which included teachers, volunteers, parents and 130 participants from 5 to 21 years old.
"We had a big turnout," she said. "It's great to see the smiles on their faces as they participate in an activity they can do."
The event also included a Power Soccer demonstration.
"We try to have some sort of entertainment," Keast said.
Major sponsors of the program include the CNY Family Sports Centre, DeWitt Kiwanis Foundation (which used to run the event), Rotary of DeWitt and Sunbelt Rentals.
"We get donations from all over," Keast said. "People are really good about donating, especially those who have donated before."
For more information about the Empire State Games, visit nysparks.com. For more information on The CNY Family Sports Centre, visit cnyfsc.com.
The CNY United Flyers, the New York State Champion Power Soccer team, put on an exhibition game and clinic for participants.
Power soccer, which originated in the early 70s in France, is the first competitive team sport designed for power wheelchair users. The sport was introduced to the U.S. in the early 80s and has been growing ever since.
Coached by Jim Sefick, the CNY United Flyers demonstrated their skills in front of several dozen physically challenged athletes interested in learning more about the sport. Peyton Sefick, the coach's son, is one of the stars on the team and an inspirational member of the Baldwinsville Boys Varsity team, reigning Section III Champions.
For more information about the CNY United Flyers, contact Jim Sefick at 345-1941.