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Ability First is committed to enhancing the quality of life for youth with physical disabilities through competitive athletics and recreational programming.
Since 1985 Ability First Youth Sports Camp has provided sports and recreation opportunities for youth with physical disabilities. Ability First was founded by Eric Snedeker and Bill Bowness, masters students in the Theraputic Recreation department at California State University, Chico. The camp runs for one week every summer on the campus of California State University, Chico and has served well over 700 youth since its inception. Ability First Youth Sports Camp is one of only a few residential sports camps in the United States. For so many youth with disabilities, opportunities to particiapte in recreational and competative activities and to socialize with their peers is rare. More importantly, Ability First Youth Sports Camp provides services to youth from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds who live in a rural area. Several of our participants have continued their athletic training and are competing at national and international levels.
The staff consists primarily of students enrolled in the Therapeutic Recreation and Adaptive Physical Education Departments at California State University, Chico. Ability First Youth Sports Camp has provided a unique training opportunity for students to apply theoretical concepts in a residential camp setting. Through these types of community-based learning experiences, the Departments and students have gained state-wide recognition.
Our intent is to continue providing this service to the youth of Butte County. However, due to budgetary cuts, a reduction in resources, rising costs for staffing and room and board and staffing, funding for this purpose has become more challenging. Without the support of external funding sources, Ability First would not exist and may limit the number of youth served.
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