Special Sports Training and Recreational Services (STARS)
Special Sports Training and Recreational Services (STARS) was formed in 2004 by a group of special athletes, families, caregivers, and volunteers. STARS offers different sports and recreational activities throughout the year to children (starting at age 6) and adults with mental and physical disabilities in Highlands and the surrounding counties. All levels of disabilities are encouraged to participate as sports are adapted to the individual. Athletes can start out on a skill level designed to help them learn to play better and then move into a more competitive environment once they are more comfortable. Awards are given to everyone who competes.
Special athletes receive training in the sports that they choose and compete for awards. There are training and competitions for horseshoes, bocce, shuffleboard, tennis, softball, bowling, swimming, volleyball, kickball, track, and field, cycling, equestrian, cheerleading, and basketball. The training and competitions help individuals to develop better socialization skills as they compete with a partner and/or a team. STARS athletes are also partnered with community members without disabilities in sports such as softball and kickball. The activities help to build natural supports for the athletes and help to educate the community on the unique abilities of our consumers.
All sports are free of charge to people with disabilities but medical and release forms have to be complete, on-file, and updated every three years. Special STARS relies heavily on volunteers and community donations. Opportunities include organizing or coaching various sports. Volunteers can also help hand out awards, food, and drinks.
Special STARS Recreation Club
There is a Special STARS Recreation Club that offers eight social events during the year including dances, theater shows, local ball games, parties, recreational games, and picnics. Club members of all ages and disabilities are encouraged to join and pay a small $5 fee in annual dues. The club helps to direct activities through their elected officers. Volunteers and donations are also appreciated for the STARS Recreation Club activities.
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