Super Sports Saturday

Since ABLE Youth’s founding, Super Sports Saturday has been the cornerstone program. One Saturday morning a month, we meet, usually at the Williamson County Recreation Center, for a variety of sports. From basketball and tennis to rugby and track, independence skills like chair maneuvering, dressing and adaptive driving, Super Sports Saturday is filled with tons of activities to fit every participants taste. Super Sports Saturdays are appropriate for preschool aged children, who have begun to learn to push their chairs themselves all the way through to high school students.

Music City Thunder Wheelchair Basketball Team

Depending on the year and how many kids of different ages we have interested in playing, ABLE Youth could have a Prep team for young students and a Varsity team for older students, but more often due to mixed ages just one of the two, that compete through the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Practices begin in late August and run through the National Tournament in April. The team travels to out of town tournaments, in addition, to some years having a home tournament and appearing in local exhibitions. Athletes do not need to use a wheelchair fulltime. They must simply have a lower limb disability that prevents them from full participation in their school’s sports programs.

Music City Thunder Cheerleaders

The cheerleaders focus on both cheering and dance. The squad cheers for the basketball team and appears at competitions and exhibitions in the area.

Wheelchair Racing and Achilles Kids

Achilles International is a running group that pairs people with and without disabilities to be able to run mainstream races, and Achilles Kids is the youth part of the organization. All of our ABLE Youth kids are part of Achilles Kids! As part of Achilles Kids, all ABLE Youth kids will have the opportunity to run (In Achilles, EVERYTHING is running…use of a wheelchair, handcycle, crutches, walker, or traditional running/walking.) a marathon each year, but it will be a mile, or even a tenth of a mile, at a time. Super Sports Saturday will often include a time to get in mileage either on the outdoor pathway or inside in the gym. Kids are also encouraged to complete mileage at home, in school PE class, and to enter races. We’ll have several group races throughout the year where we’ll partner with Achilles International-Nashville, and each of our athletes will have his or her own guide to run alongside them during the race and offer any assistance needed. For races and mileage on their own, kids can use their regular chairs, a sports or racing chair, a handcycle, or even their feet if they are ambulatory. We have a few racing chairs and handcycles that can be borrowed with a signed equipment agreement. Mileage is sent to the Achilles International office so that our kids are eligible for prizes, so make sure to email in the mileage! The adult Achilles chapter always welcomes our kids at their weekly Wednesday evening and Saturday morning runs, provided an RSVP email is sent.

Independence Camp

One weekend a year, a group of our participants spend a weekend at camp, learning what it’s like to live independently. The campers are challenged to do all aspects of life themselves, with plenty of counselors there to teach them skills they are lacking. Aside from personal care skills, we set up teaching stations for each camper to visit including laundry, making a bed, wheelchair maintenance, advanced outdoor wheelchair skills, cooking, sweeping, doing dishes and interviewing for a job. We play crazy games, have time for sports and have fun getting to know others who are also on their way to complete independence.

Independence Training Sessions

ABLE Youth provides in-home independence training to its participants. While independence skills are taught at ABLE Youth events, it can be difficult for participants to transfer these skills to their life at home, where it really counts. We evaluate the areas in which the child is lacking and provide instruction on how to gain independence and growth in these areas. The parents can also get involved and see the techniques being used, creating accountability for their child(ren), leading to greater success.