The Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind (ASRAB) supports Albertans who are blind or visually impaired to live physically active lives and participate in competitive sports programs. We do this by:
- providing development and competitive sport programs, and
- supporting and encouraging the blind or visually impaired to actively participate in a broad spectrum of sport and recreation programs.
ASRAB identified 5 strategic priorities which form the foundation of the Association’s planning and development, to meet the mission of the Association.
1.1 EDUCATION / AWARENESS
Goal Statement: To increase ASRAB’s profile across the province as the one provincial sport and recreation association that is focused on providing quality sport and physical activity opportunities for the blind and visually impaired.
- sight night – a fun run after dark, vision optional. Enthusiasts and supporters of visually impaired Albertans participate in a 8K run/5K run/3K walk. Calgary’s inaugural run was in 2010 (annually held mid-November) and Edmonton’s first run was in 2012 (annually held in mid-late September).
- Promotional programs are provided to schools and children’s organizations.
1. 2 OPERATIONAL PRACTICES
Goal Statement: Through a strong organizational infrastructure ASRAB has the resources and capacity to promote the participation of blind or visually impaired to live healthy active lifestyle. The Association’s capacity supports participation in both competitive and recreational sports programs and physical activity programs.
- ASRAB is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by part-time staff. Current staff includes: Executive Director, Program Coordinator – Calgary, Program Coordinator – Edmonton and Financial Administrator
- Communication is provided through an email distribution program, the website and social media.
1.3 COMPETITIVE SPORT STRATEGY
Goal Statement: A strong and comprehensive provincial sport development strategy is in place that has resulted in increased level of participation for all ages and all levels of participation across the province. The programs and services will continue to expand as the need and priorities are identified. Goalball is ASRAB’s signature program and has the financial support in place to ensure the athletes can complete at the local, provincial and national level.
- Goalball – is a fast-paced Paralympic sport developed uniquely for blind and visually impaired athletes. There are three positions on the court during play, who are positioned in front of a goal measuring 9 meters in width. Players wear goggles that are blacked out to eliminate any light, allowing athletes with all degrees of visual acuity to play equally. The object is to throw the ball (containing bells) past the defending team, who attempt to block the ball before it enters the goal.
- ASRAB provides programs for introductory training, youth and adults; as well as high performance competitive play. Teams are selected for tournament participation in invitational and national competitions.
1.4 ACTIVE LIVING SPORT STRATEGY
Goal Statement: A continuum of programs and services will be in place that supports participation and engagement of the blind and visually impaired in a broad range of recreational and physical activity programs in their local community. Recreational exposure programs include a wide range of summer and winter activities.:
- Winter sports: cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snow-shoeing, skating, blind hockey (including collaboration with Courage Canada) and curling
- Indoor sports: rock climbing, yoga, gymnastics, hip hop dance and bowling
- Summer sports: soccer, sailing, canoe, dragon boat and tandem cycling,
- Running and walking programs: sight night Flaman Training Program, walking, urban hiking and running.
- Children’s physical literacy and fundamental movement skills
1.5 SPONSORSHIP AND FUNDING
Goal Statement: Through a comprehensive planning process ASRAB has a sponsorship development fund.