Adaptive sports training program happening at McKinley Park on February 15
The Chicago Park District is excited to host its second annual Windy City Winter Sports Clinic at McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd., on February 15, 2023 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The clinic is a one-day urban adaptive sports training program for disabled veterans and wounded, ill, or injured service members. This instructional clinic requires no previous experience. Participants are invited to learn about and try their best at ice skating, biathlon, curling, snowshoeing, and mountain biking.
"More than two dozen veterans from Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and Mississippi participated in the first edition of this amazing program, and this year, we are excited to bring even more winter activities to veterans of all military backgrounds," said Chicago Park District Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “The clinic strives to expose veterans to a variety of sports and recreational opportunities and a community of support, education, and camaraderie with the goal of improving their physical and mental health during the winter months.”
This year, veterans will have access to winter activities that include ice skating, speed skating, hockey/sled hockey, biathlon, curling, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
This one-day event aims to provide an opportunity for veterans, who have served or are currently serving in the US Armed Forces, to learn about winter sports, build community and interact with one another during the planned sports and recreational activities. The Park District will divide participants into four groups. Each group will receive 45 minutes of intensive educational instruction in each of the winter sports activities offered throughout the day.
The Park District is collaborating with sports professionals to provide instruction to participating veterans during the course of the event. The Chicago Blackhawks will provide ice skating instruction, Central Cross Country (CXC) Skiing from Madison, Wisconsin will support with biathlon equipment and instruction, AllenForce, a nonprofit organization that provides free programming and services to injured veterans, will equip athletes with all terrain chairs utilized as an adaptive alternative to snowshoeing as a part of their VETANK program, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab will support mountain biking.
Disabled veterans and wounded, ill, or injured service members of all ages are encouraged to apply by 5 p.m. CST on January 30, 2023. The application committee will review completed applications and accepted candidates will receive notice by January 31, 2023. Eligible participants may apply at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/wcwsc. Veterans traveling 60 miles or more from the clinic venue will be eligible to receive hotel accommodations for the night of Tuesday, February 14 and/or Wednesday, February 15 depending on each athlete’s travel needs. Additional information about accommodations for veterans traveling with caregivers, service animals, and any assistive devices is available at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/wcwsc.
The Chicago Park District provides year-round, free programming to veterans. This winter session, veterans may enroll in archery, judo, pickleball, water aerobics, indoor rowing, biathlon, yoga, table tennis, boccia, curling, badminton, and more. The session is already in progress and runs through the week of March 26, 2023. Registration for the winter session is available here.
For more information about Veteran Programs and Military Initiatives, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/special-recreation-programs.