An adaptive sports program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) is being made possible through a local partnership.
The Bowling Green Parks & Recreation (BGPR) and WKU Campus Recreation and Wellness are teaming up to bring adaptive sports to college students. BGPR currently has youth and adult programming. However, the partnership looks to create more opportunities for populations not currently within reach.
Jerrell Kelly, the assistant director of Programs at WKU, shares what brought about the partnership, what they hope to accomplish and lessons learned from the a partnership below:
Camps Rec Magazine: Why did you decide to partner with BGPR to bring about this program?
Jerrell Kelly: When I arrived at WKU in the Spring of 2020, I had the opportunity to meet with Cameron Levis from BGPR about trying to find ways to partner our two departments. Cameron is a previous student employee of the department, an adjunct faculty member at WKU, and works with Special Populations at BGPR. When we spoke then, we started throwing around the ideas of what we could potentially do. But soon after the COVID-19 shutdown hit. When we came back for the 2020-21 year, we eventually had the chance to broach the topic again.
CRM: What do you hope to accomplish through this partnership?
JK: Really, what we’re looking to do is to help in the endeavor of building a life cycle of engagement. Individuals can take part in programs through BGPR as youth and as adults, but there was a gap for most of those individuals during the collegiate years. With this partnership, the hope is they can first take part as a youth with BGPR. Then they can participate with WKU Campus Recreation and Wellness. Finally, should they remain in the Bowling Green area, they can return to involvement in BGPR as adults. This provides a lifetime of engagement.
CRM: What lessons have you learned so far in this local partnership?
JK: With our local partnership, I think we’ve been pretty lucky in that we already had a previous relationship with BGPR. The biggest thing thus far has been the differences in speed in which things can be accomplished sometimes. It’s trying to balance that between both entities.
Outside of that, I think it’s been a willingness on both sides to try new things and see how they work. We have the ability to take some of the resources we can provide here on campus combined with the various resources BGPR has available to it and really build from there. This is better than each of us starting from nothing.
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