LIFE Program Gets Active at the Manitoba Boccia Tournament

Jun 12, 2024

Four athletes, seated in chairs and wheelchairs, are lined up and playing Boccia in the Sargent Tommy Prince Community Centre gym.

Earlier this month, Leisure in Fun Environments (LIFE) Program participants entered a Manitoba Boccia tournament at Sergeant Tommy Prince Community Centre. It was a day of activity, inclusion and fun. This collaborative event, supported by the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Manitoba Possible, the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba and the Manitoba Cerebral Palsy Sports Association, and funded by Participation and Boccia Canada, gathered individuals living with disabilities spanning various ages for a friendly boccia tournament.

The LIFE Program youths were divided into teams and engaged in a knockout-style tournament to compete for the top spot. This endeavor fostered physical and social growth as teams strategized and supported each other enthusiastically throughout each victory.

“I had a lot of fun playing boccia today,” said Daniel Cowen, a previous LIFE Program attendee and avid volunteer. “My team and I made it to fourth place at the intermediate level.”

For parents, this tournament offered an opportunity to connect with other families facing similar experiences and discover new avenues for sport opportunities that value inclusion and development for their children living with disabilities.

“I think opportunities like this boccia tournament are great because we can meet new people and find out about other adaptive programs that my son can participate in,” said Daniel’s father Steve Cowen. “It was also rewarding to watch Daniel have fun playing boccia and actively participate with others.”

The LIFE Program is generously funded by donors to Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. It offers various developmental opportunities for children and youth with disabilities, enabling them to stay active, participate in an inclusive setting, and acquire the tools necessary for them to thrive in their daily lives.

“It has been so exciting to see our teens growing as athletes. Some teens started playing boccia over two years ago and continue to register each season,” said Hailey Perchotte, Recreation Therapist and Co-Coordinator of the LIFE Program. ““To see the growth from everyone throwing their ball out of bounds in our Learn to Play Boccia sessions to now running a Learn to Compete Boccia group that can outshoot the staff members. I am so proud of how far each athlete has come and I can’t wait to see them continue to surpass their limits.”

For information on additional LIFE Program opportunities, explore the LIFE Program webpage.