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Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw provides inclusion for all kids. (Cover Story).

On a bright sunny day last spring, more than 600 spectators cheered from the sidelines of the grassy fields of the Ridgeway School in Severn, Maryland, as kids from Ridgeway, Jones, and Marley Elementary Schools participated in the first Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw sports program. What was so special about this scene was that the kids involved were those with and without disabilities, and they were competing as teammates, side by side. What's more, to be able to put together such a program was, for me, a dream of many years come true.

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THE INSPIRATION

Watching my son Dallas, who has a developmental disability, compete in sports has always been a great inspiration for my family and me. Special Olympics is a terrific outlet for him, and provided some great opportunities for him and his friends to compete on teams that the regular schools did not provide. However, like other parents, I had always hoped that Dallas could be on a school team with his non-disabled peer group and actually wear a school T-shirt or uniform, but it never happened. Since then, I had been searching to find a way to make team participation a reality for other children with disabilities around the country. I finally found the right partner in the US Navy. Now, with the support of the Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw program, kids across America can actually be on the same team as their friends in school in a meaningful, fun, and challenging sports activity.

The program's basis is simple, utilizing the fundamental elements of sport, movement, and fun. Running, jumping, and throwing are what most kids do every day. For some kids with a disability, however, this is not the case. The RJT program teams kids up with their peer groups at school in physical education classes or at recreation centers. Through the program, kids with disabilities can learn skills from inclusion with their non-disabled peers, as well as through the support of their instructors. Professionals in the field agree with the benefits the program brings: "The Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw program will provide to physical educators and special education teachers a program that will enhance inclusion opportunities through a fun sports activity for all kids," says Dr. Glen Roswall, president of American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), a professional organization for those involved in physical education and related specialties.

The Program offers the Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw Sports Guide at no charge to parents, special education teachers, physical education teachers and other groups working with kids grades 1-12. The Sports Guide provides information on how to teach and coach all the events offered, as well as sections devoted to working with students with a variety of physical and developmental disabilities. The Guide provides clear illustrations, and a step by step format on how to teach and conduct each event, and is ideally suited for every school and recreation program.

The teams are made up of either three or four students on a team. Each student competes in the events offered, and points are awarded for each score in the track and field events. The points are then added for each student to provide a combined team score. Teams can compete against each other in class, or they can log on to the Navy RJT Web page and find other teams from across the United States to compete against.

With more than 4,000 schools and recreation programs now involved with Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw, the program is rapidly growing and could become one of the nation's largest sports programs for kids grades 1-12. All materials are free to teachers and parents so that they can enable even more children to have their dreams of playing on a grassy field with their friends come true.
NAVY RUN JUMP 'N' THROW PROGRAM EVENTS

ELEMENTARY 50 meter dash
SCHOOL: Standing jump
3 students per team Softball throw

MIDDLE 50 meter or 100 meter dash
SCHOOL: Standing jump or running long jump
3 students per team Softball throw or shot put

HIGH SCHOOL: 100 meter dash
4 students per team Running long jump
 Shot put
 400 meter relay

MODIFIED 10 meter assisted walk
EVENTS FOR 50 meter wheelchair race
STUDENTS 50 meter motorized wheelchair race
WITH A Tennis ball toss
DISABILITY: Nerf ball toss
 2 and 3 pound shot put


For more information contact:

Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw Program

5021 Oakcrest Drive

Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: (800) 539-7057

E-mail: NavyRJT@yahoo.com

Web site:

http://www.runjumpnthrow.org

Jim Santos is the President/Founder of the Navy Run Jump 'n' Throw program and is the former Director of Family Programs for Special Olympics, Inc., Washington DC. As an assistant coach for the 1980 United States Men's Olympic Track and Field team, Jim has been a pioneer in sports for children with developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. HIS daughter Kelly is a special education teacher in Modesto, CA, and his son Dallas works at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
COPYRIGHT 2001 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:sports program
Author:Santos, Jim
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Words:841
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