MATP on Safari a roaring success
“This room is just filled with joy.”
That was one variation of a comment overheard numerous times Thursday at the Fremont Middle School Gym. The mood was appropriately festive for a day the calendar calls Cinco de Mayo, and that we at Douglas ESD set aside to celebrate our Motor Activities Training Program.
Families, volunteers, Fremont Leadership students and members of the Roseburg High School Partners Club gathered to cheer on MATP athletes ages 3 to 21. Modified versions of soccer, football, golf and bowling were available for athletes to try, as well as a ball launch, obstacle course, Koosh toss, switch-activated games and a colorful, burgeoning canvas that was perfect for ducking under with a wheelchair.
A handful of special visitors generated quite a bit of excitement just by showing up. The day’s theme was MAPT on Safari, and representatives from Wildlife Safari brought some of their animal ambassadors to make new friends. Children (and more than a few adults) were thrilled to meet a Patagonian canvy, an Red-lored Amazon parrot, a ferret and a couple of rabbits. Those children who preferred to keep a distance from the live critters were able to get a tactile encounter by fondling items such as pelts and spongy replicas of paws.
The morning ended with a Special Olympics-style award ceremony. All athletes received medals, and all peer partners were awarded certificates of appreciation. Douglas Education Service District Superintendent Michael Lasher and Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn did the honors, thanking each student for attending.
The day was summed up in the words of one Fremont Leadership middle schooler who confirmed he’d have to make up some extra work because of the classes he missed that morning.
“It’s definitely worth it,” he said.