OSWEGO, NY – ARC of Oswego County, Oswego Minor Hockey Association and Move Along Inc., today announce the recent success of the third annual Skate and Slide, an opportunity for children with special needs to explore the ice at Crisafulli Memorial Skating Rink in Oswego.
Families sometimes hesitate to bring their children with disabilities to public places such as an ice rink because of varying obstacles including accessibility issues or fears that their child’s inability to skate may disrupt the experience of other attendees. With this unique event, parents and siblings took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some time on the ice with their child with special needs without worry.
“Three years ago when the idea came up to organize something like this, we never dreamed it would have become what is has,” said Adam Michalski of ARC of Oswego County. “Collaboration is the key to the success of Skate and Slide and I’m so excited that everyone involved stepped up to the occasion to continue to make this event successful.”
This free event continues to grow annually, this year welcoming nearly 50 attendees including children, siblings and event volunteers. Volunteers included Minor Hockey Association players, Move Along Inc. and ARC of Oswego County staff and volunteers. Volunteers offered assistance on the ice for all attendees including pulling in sleds and support with walking on the ice.
“Our organization prides itself on providing an opportunity for all kids to be able to experience ice hockey in a safe, productive environment,” said John Rice, President of OMHA. “In addition to teaching hockey we believe that teaching some of lives lessons is just as important. Giving back to the ARC of Oswego County is and hopefully will continue to be a great event for OMHA.”
This is the first year that Move Along, Inc., became involved with Skate and Slide. Founder Greg Callen and other staff members brought sled hockey equipment for participants to utilize. Sled hockey uses a specially designed sled which sits atop two ice hockey skate blades. Participants use hockey sticks with metal picks on the end to propel themselves across the ice.
“Skate and Slide helps community inclusion, it was evident in the youth hockey players, as well as so many others, spending time teaching, mentoring and befriending those they may not typically engage with or spend much social time with,” said Greg Callen of Move Along, Inc. “As the founder of an organization who has a disability, I understand the feeling of exclusion and work to create a variety of recreational opportunities for individuals with physical limitations. Participating at Skate and Slide enabled many children to experience new programming such as our sled hockey program.”
ARC of Oswego County is a private, not-for-profit organization which has been providing programs and services to individuals with disabilities since 1955. Its mission is to be a leader in the field of developmental disabilities, committed to meeting the needs of individual growth, productivity, and independence through education, advocacy, and increased community acceptance and participation. Its sister agency, Oswego Industries, Inc., provides services to adults with disabilities: together creating a comprehensive support system for individuals with disabilities in Oswego County.