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SOCWRK 201 – Adaptive Recreation

Tayla Taylor and Baylee Sanderson
Prof. Hilary Cobb – SOCWRK 201
Adaptive Recreation – Boise Parks and Recreation

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Learning Goals:

Throughout this course and completion of service hours, we strived to gain knowledge about working with a social work agency, professionalism, and the skills and tools helpful to the field of social work.
We also aimed to learn more about the population of people with physical disabilities and mental impairments. One main goal of our service-learning was to apply course concepts to our experiences.



Prior to my service-learning experience, I had not had much experience with people with physical disabilities. I was unaware of the many barriers that society has created for this population. My service-learning has shown me that people with physical disabilities are extremely capable and have so many strengths. This experience has also taught me cultural humility. Because I have had limited experience with this population, I had to ask many questions during my service-learning. For example, when people would ask me to help adjust their straps, chairs, or help with the hoyer lift, I had to ask many questions to make sure they were comfortable. This service is extremely important because it really does make a difference in people’s lives. It gives the opportunity for those with physical disabilities to be active, work on their athleticism, and be social. It was very important for me to learn because it has taught me so much about this population. Going forward, I am now much more aware of the barriers that society has created for people with disabilities.


I also had little experience with this population and wanted to do this project with adaptive fitness is gain more knowledge. I think it has been helpful to see concepts from class apply to real life situation. I was able to learn concepts about engagement, working with a wide range of people, and dealing with new challenges and barriers. Every class my project coordinator and I both learned something new to implement for the next class. Every day was different and being able to figure out what was best for class was super interesting. I think my favorite part about the whole project was being able to see how much everybody enjoys coming to class and the supportive community the fitness classes have built.

Community Partner: Adaptive Recreation – Boise Parks and Recreation

Mission Statement:

According to the City of Boise Parks and Recreation, “Boise Parks and Recreation enhances the quality of life in Boise by providing safe, healthy recreational opportunities for children and adults” (2021).

Three people standing in a gym with a ball in hand going through drills.
AdVenture Photo Gallery from

Adaptive Recreation:

According to the City of Boise Boise Parks and Recreation Adaptive Recreation, “Boise Parks and Recreation’s Adaptive Recreation program provides a wide range of recreational, social and educational programs for youth and adults with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities can choose to participate with one of our adaptive recreation programs which are specifically designed for someone with a disability or utilize inclusion services in which modifications may be provided so that an individual with a disability can fully participate in any of Boise Parks and Recreation’s programs” (2021).

Project Purpose:

For our project specifically we helped in the Adaptive Recreation programs provided by the Boise Parks and Rec. One of the classes was a fitness class that helped teach basic workouts to groups for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. The other program was Adaptive Sports, specifically Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Basketball. Both of these are aimed for people with physical disabilities. Wheelchair Rugby was led by the team. Wheelchair Basketball provided a “Skills and Drills” workshop for people with disabilities of all ages to help them learn and improve the basic skills of Wheelchair Basketball.

Course Concepts


  • Appropriate Communication – Person-first language, linguistic competence
  • Social Work Skills – Time Management, Asking for Help, Minimizing Risk, Leadership, Willing to Help Others, Open to Feedback
  • Strengths Perspective – Campbell and Jones (1994) reported that their results support that participating in wheelchair sports, regardless of the level of competition, “causes a more positive mood and greater self-perception of health and well-being” (p. 413).
  • Systems Perspective + Ecological Perspective – There are systemic barriers that people with disabilities face. Understanding these barriers is important to help people function well in their environment. Service-learning has taught me about these barriers.
  • Evidence-Based Practice – The results of a study comparing participants of wheelchair sports to nonparticipants were that the participants of adaptive sports “reported lower levels of tension, depression, anger, and confusion and higher levels of vigor” (Campbell & Jones, 1994, p. 412) compared to the group of nonparticipants. Several participants from my service-learning have expressed lower levels of these feelings since beginning wheelchair sports.
  • Cultural Humility + Cultural Competence –I had to learn to ask for help. In addition, I learned about the importance of understanding the needs of people in order to effectively help them.


  • Engagement – Going into this program we had to connect with many individual. Being able to listen to others and build relationships was an important aspect.
  • Boundaries – Alongside engagement comes boundaries. Being able to share enough information to connect with others is good, but being able to have healthy boundaries is just as important.
  • Strengths Perspective –encouragement and building on strengths during classes helped push and motivate individuals.
  • Improving overall well-being –Adaptive fitness participation can improve one’s overall well being Neyroud and Newman (2021) wrote, “overall, the results showed that from this sample mental health and behavior had improved by 48%. Other areas such as appetite had also increases by 37% and sleep also improved dramatically” (p.2).


Adaptive Fitness Classes

  • Helped facilitate adaptive fitness classes
  • Supported individuals in meeting their fitness goals
  • Built relationships

Adaptive Wheelchair Sports

  • Helped facilitate adaptive sports practices
  • Helped with drills and scrimmages
  • Supported individuals to improve and learn wheelchair sports skills
A room full of people in wheelchairs playing wheelchair basketball.
Adventure Seeker Photo Gallery from


Our partnership with Boise Parks and Recs

Adaptive Recreation programs helped individuals have a safe space to participate in various physical activities and sports.

  • Taught individuals to part take in healthy lifestyle choices
  • Brought together the community and built relationships with one another
  • Helped teach individuals good fitness habits and sports skills

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