LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Special Olympians need a rec center
October 7, 2008 · Updated 9:54 PM
To the editor:
Were you aware that Whidbey Island has a Special Olympics basketball team (ages 8-41) and newly formed tennis group? Did you read how closure of Freeland’s bowling alley resulted in these athletes losing their only year-round outlet for exercise, skill building and socializing with peers?
Now that the rain is back and days are shorter, I am once again reminded of the need for an affordable location for inclusive recreational and educational activities for all ages and abilities. It is no secret that school-agers as well as adults with special needs often experience loneliness, rejection or lack of motivation in that they are isolated from everyday events/activities, given limited access, availability or insufficient agency, family, community support.
The South Whidbey community recreation center could provide many of the elements that are missing from their lives, namely, availability to meaningful recreational activities like swimming, basketball, tennis, health/wellness classes, aerobics, seasonal community courses and events. They would now have access to “standard” courts, not modified gym floors, to practice strokes, passes and patterns of play.
In addition, such an active and supportive site could provide a safe environment for many to learn how to include themselves in “typical” activities, problem solve, socialize, communicate, travel to/from and become more independent with each successful interaction.
Let’s not waste another year “thinking about it.” Now is the time to vote yes for the community recreation center bond, as passage of this proposal will result in a major asset for our wonderful South Whidbey community members, regardless of age, ability or income.