By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - The Adaptive Sports Program held its first informational meeting Friday with its athletes or their parents.
More than 20 of Fort Hood's Exceptional Family Member Program parents, wheelchair athletes and others attended the meeting, which may become quarterly, to listen to Parks and Recreation Athletics Coordinator Joe Brown speak about the program.
The Adaptive Sports Program is trying to make the city's sports inclusive for everyone, Brown said.
"One thing that stuck with me when I got here is that we are 10 miles east of the largest military installation with WTBs (Warrior Transition Battalions), and we have one of the largest VAs, and we don't have any adaptive sports programs," Brown said at the start of the meeting, talking about why he started the program.
In about a year, the program has grown from nothing to holding wheelchair basketball, wheelchair pickle ball, adaptive rock climbing, soccer for disabled youth, and adult softball and volleyball for wounded soldiers, Brown said.
Recently, the program also became one of the 135 Paralympic Sport Clubs around the nation, Brown said. This new classification will bring a lot of opportunities for the program.
The information alone on the Paralympic Sports Club website is a benefit, he said.
"There is great stuff that is happening across the country that we can implement here," he said.
Brown also discussed some of the future sports for the program, including paralympic tennis, archery, soccer, softball, fencing; WTB pickle ball and dodgeball; and EFMP kickball and basketball.
Boulder's manager Richard Kahabka also spoke about the program's success with adaptive rock climbing and how he hopes to get the other aspects such as Fort Hood's EFMP and WTB involved in rock climbing.
"It is an inspirational event to everyone involved," he said. "We are excited to be a part of this program and letting it grow."
Those in attendance also received a chance to talk about the programs and discuss ideas, such as extending the sporting season for the children.
These meetings are important because of the importance of this mission, the uniqueness of this program and because it is new, Brown said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.