“Before I had the Packabocce courts I had three courts made from PVC pipe and I had to pack them up in a trailer to transport to different schools. It took time and was hard to set up.”
Special Olympics Iowa is thrilled with the way the courts are helping to create opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy sport, he says. With the Covid-19 pandemic easing and more people returning to play, there are high hopes that the number of participating UCS schools can be increased from 90 to 110 by the end of the year.
“Three or four years ago Unified Champion Schools wasn’t well known,” Mr Coffey says. “We have now turned that around and schools hear about it often.
“The biggest thing to make a difference has been helping district leadership understand the benefits of inclusion and how unified sports can help make that happen.
“One of my goals is to help students understand people of all abilities and to fight the barrier of and fear of difference.”
There were 386 bocce participants at the 2019 Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games, and around 3,000 athletes across all sports. Plans are in place for a unified bocce tournament on the new Packabocce courts in the fall of 2021, as well as an expanded unified bocce ball competition at the next Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games.
“Unified Bocce is truly ideal for people of all abilities,” says Mr Coffey. “Teams can be developed, and people can enjoy learning the sport rules while also learning about each other’s abilities.
“Students who use wheelchairs are even able to enjoy this sport.”
Packaworld CEO Peter Roberts says he is ecstatic to learn about the success of the Special Olympics Iowa UCS programme and how the portable bocce courts are contributing to the cause.
“I would like to congratulate Special Olympics Iowa for creating amazing outcomes for people of all abilities with their inclusive sports program,” Mr Roberts says.
“Sport is for everyone and should be enjoyed by everyone who participates.
“It’s humbling to see our Competition Packabocce courts being used to benefit people of all backgrounds and abilities.”
> Want more information about our portable bocce courts? Visit our Packabocce product page.