Central York creates unified bocce ball team

Athena Swords

With a new unified sport coming to the Central scene, they are now on their way to becoming a Unified Champion School.

Now, this is a new concept for Central York, so let’s break down exactly what this means for Central, and what students need to do as a school in order to reach this goal.

Kelli Dickmyer, the Autism Support teacher here at central says, “Unified Champion Schools develop leaderships and friendships between individuals with intellectual disabilities and their peers through athletics.”

Since Central has been approved for a second unified sport, bocce ball, they will now be running two unified sports per year. 

This hits the first standard of Unified Champion Schools which is to hold unified sports for two seasons. Central’s unified sports also hit the other three standards for playing unified. 

These are to be regularly active and competitive in the sports season, adult coaches with Special Olympic Unified Sports training and the unified sports being recognized by the school as a regular sport is. 

At Central, there is Unified Track and Field which runs in the spring. There are normal track and field events, just involving our students with disabilities.

This winter, the school is also adding Unified Bocce Ball. This is a game turned indoor sport. All that players need to do is end the game with their ball closest to the Pallino. Central is looking forward to another unified sport this coming season.

Along with this, the school has to achieve three main goals: inclusive youth leadership, whole-school engagement and sustainability.

With the goal of inclusive youth leadership, we have to have a Unified Club, which Central does. 

Youth Activation Committee is Central’s club that spreads the ideas of inclusion and they have co-presidents and co-vice presidents with and without disabilities. 

The mission statement created by Y.A.C. is, “The Youth Activation Committee’s mission is to include everyone in the school community regardless of their cognitive ability. This club encourages all members to be involved and express their ideas. The club supports the growth and development of our Unified Sports programs and Special Olympics.”

This club meets every Tuesday in room 131-133 during flex.

In order to be nationally recognized, Central also has to have whole-school engagement in spreading the message of inclusion. These activities will be planned by the Youth Activation Committee, and they will have at least two engagements per year. 

Finally, Central has to have a plan in place to continue these actions of inclusion. This will be taken care of by the special education teachers and the students in the Youth Activation Committee. 

On the idea of inclusion, Dickmyer said, “It really comes down to treating people like people, reach out to people you wouldn’t typically. No one can do everything but expect everyone to do something.”

With Bocce on the way, it’s time for Central York to become Unified Champions and keep on spreading inclusion.