Salt Lake County recreation centers strive for inclusivity through adaptive recreation

Jun 16, 2022, 9:50 AM
The front of the Holladay Lions salt lake county recreation center...
The Holladay Lions Recreation Center photographed in Millcreek on Monday, May 18, 2020. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department has gone to great lengths to create and improve recreational experiences for people with disabilities. County recreation centers have activities and programs meant to create an inclusive experience.

Utah’s Morning News’ Tim Hughes spoke with Taylor Smith, who is in charge of adaptive recreation activities.

“Salt Lake County believes that equal or equivalent programming should be provided for people with disabilities. Just providing the options for people to come and choose what they want to do for recreation is that equal or equivalent to what we provide for the able-bodied population,” said Smith.

Having recreational options for people with disabilities is an important part of physical fitness. Smith pointed out that there are social benefits as well.

“They have created friendships, often go to appointments together because of the bond that they created. They just like to help each other out in their personal life.”

Smith spoke about the airgun program offered at Copperview Recreation Center. The program is available for people of all abilities and is specifically aimed at veterans.

“The camaraderie that they get with the other veterans that are in the program is a big help. They just like to help each other out in their personal life and it has expanded beyond the airgun program,” Smith said, adding “So it’s a really wonderful thing to see.”

Smith told Utah’s Morning News she was particularly excited about the expansions to their wheelchair sports program.

“We’re starting wheelchair pickleball in August. And we’ve been trying out wheelchair lacrosse, and it has taken off pretty successfully. We will be holding a wheelchair football tournament in October and that is a brand new sport. It’s actually the newest sport to [our] wheelchair sports program, so we’re really excited about that as well.”

According to Smith, Salt Lake County has activities designed for children as young as 6 all the way up to people in their 90s and 100s.

For those concerned about if they or their loved one is too old or too young, don’t worry. The age qualifications are wide and all-inclusive.

“We have a very wide variety of age qualifications. For our intellectual disability summer camp, it’s school-age children from 6 to 22. For other programs, the age usually starts at 6 and then goes up until 100+ so people can come participate in many of our programs throughout their entire life.”

Recreation centers that offer these adaptive recreation activities can be found all over Salt Lake County.

Smith said the Copperview Recreation Center was the county’s “main hub” and is home to a lot of the programs. 

But other rec centers also have some standout activities. South Jordan Recreation Center will house the county’s wheelchair sports program.

Additionally, the Taylorsville and Dimple Dell centers both have a rock climbing wall. And the county’s summer camp programs are held at the Redwood and Copperview recreation centers. 

“We’re trying to provide inclusivity to everyone within our community,” Smith said.

To find out more information, visit Salt Lake County’s webpage.

Related: Alternative Anchoring Program offers better way to anchor at Lake Powell

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Salt Lake County recreation centers strive for inclusivity through adaptive recreation