Greensboro Parks & Rec brings outdoor activities indoors for students with special needs

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Students at Haynes-Inman Education Center enjoyed traditionally outdoor activities indoors with the help of Greensboro Parks and Recreation.

It’s the third time staffs have brought adaptive activities for the students with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Lake Activities Specialist Jennifer Phelps said the smiles keep her coming back.

“Usually we are outdoors, kayaking on the lake, fishing on the lake, but we enjoy this opportunity to kind of bring the outdoors to students here at Haynes-Inman who otherwise might not be able to get in a boat on the water,” Phelps said.

Volunteers help the students play activities like miniature golf, archery and feel the sensation of kayaking on a kayak with wheels around the school’s hallway.

PE teacher Vicki Simmons was inspired to bring the ideas of adaptive activities through Mainstream Resources when she witnesses adults with disabilities experience kayaking in Greensboro.

“I watched them help get these people, adults, into kayaks and out of kayaks and they went around the lake and they were the happiest they’ve ever been and the freest they’ve ever been -- and I thought how can we do that?” Simmons said. “Since this is our third time, now the kids who have been around before can get excited, the adults can get excited and that transfers to the younger kids who haven’t been here before. So it’s kind of a reunion because all of our kids are together, preschool and the other kids are in one room together.”

The students who get to experience the activities are ages 3-22. Teachers and volunteers take pictures for their parents for souvenirs of their special day.

“It gives them things to do because they deserve to do things just like everyone else,” Phelps said.