Sunday, February 25, 2024

CVC Inclusive Sports Day a big hit for all involved

CHESTERLAND—Mother Nature greeted the 100-plus attendees of the Chagrin Valley Conference’s inaugural Inclusive Sports Day at West Geauga High School with unseasonable temperatures and a fast-moving rain shower but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of all those who attended.

The event, a collaboration between the CVC and Empower Sports, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to providing sports and exercise programs for children and adults with various physical and cognitive disabilities and additional programs for typically-developing kids, initially was dreamed up several years ago but was delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

Sandy Siegler, a longtime volleyball official and the CVC’s assignor, teamed up with CVC assistant commissioner Rakayla Iwais to coordinate the event.

“For me, the goal is to have the athletes meet the participants and see what they go through on a daily basis and become friends,” Siegler said. “We sometimes forget how tough it could be for kids with disabilities to navigate through a day or through a week. This is a special day for everyone.”

Siegler and Iwais secured sponsorships from Lakeshore Insurance and Arbor Group Advisors and even a post-event pizza party provided by Dominos.

Most importantly, they recruited student-athlete volunteers from several CVC schools to serve as coaches for the sports stations set up on Howell Field.

Student-Athletes from Beachwood, Kirtland, Orange, and West Geauga worked with the Empower Sports athletes in drill stations ranging from a football throw to relay races and soccer skills.

“This is awesome,” said West Geauga senior Frankie Flesher, an All-CVC soccer standout. “It’s super cool to come together from different schools and be able to include people with disabilities and get them to have a super fun day.”

Despite the weather conditions, smiles were seen from sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone, and already discussions were had to grow the event in upcoming years.

Watch the video interviews below to hear from the CVC student-athletes on the impact of volunteering in this event.

Running obstacles at the @CVC_Athletics All-Inclusive Sports Day at West Geauga.


Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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