Hundreds of elementary and high school students flocked to the Cold Lake Energy Centre on December 3rd to experience life with a disability.
The Regional Abilities Awareness Committee held their Access for All fair at the Energy Centre to coincide with International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated world-wide on December 3.
The theme for 2015 is Inclusion Matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.
Students experienced what it would be like to have a disability through various activities hosted by several local agencies. Students competed in a bean-bag toss while wearing glasses that obstructed vision, attempted to open pudding cups while wearing oven mitts with the thumb taped down, put together mixed up puzzles with out talking, learned how to paint and write their name without using their hands, used a ramp for plastic ten-pin bowling and tried out a sit-ski, used to allowpeople with disabilities access to ski hills. Two sit-skis, one for adults and one for children, are available for rental at Kinosoo Ridge.
Participants also had the opportunity to learn about sledge hockey and participate in other fun events such as face painting, tug-of-war, a fishing pond and a rubber duck toss. Volunteers dished out popcorn and cotton candy to hungry kids. In addition to school groups, parents with young children came through to check out the festivities.
Brenda Rosychuck of the Abilities Awareness Committee said turnout far exceeded the group’s expectations.
“We had a little dream of this mini carnival,” she said. “This morning showcased that is was a huge carnival and all the kids really enjoyed it. The turnout has been amazing.”
In addition to having fun, Rosychuk said the kids took away lessons about life with a disability.
“Kids were shown how to paint just using their mouth,” she said. “That is a neat way to show them what it’s like to live with paralysis from the neck down. They were asking questions, ‘why are we doing this,’ and I explained it’s kind of mimicking what it would be like to live with a disability through your own eyes rather that seeing it off somebody else. Maybe they have an idea what it’s like to live with a disability.”
Rosychuck thanked all the volunteers and agencies that came out to bring the carnival to Cold Lake. “I think it was a huge success.”