Wheelchair Sports Camp Targets Youth

Fourteen-year-old Yoni Delman of Los Angeles didn’t let cerebral palsy stop him from getting right to the center of things when it comes to archery. From his wheelchair, Yoni hit a target 40 feet away on his third try.

“When I pull back, it feels like I’m going to hit the target,” said Yoni, who was one of 40 youths to enroll in the 13th annual Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, which began Monday at Cal State Northridge.

In addition to archery, participants were taught basketball, tennis, track and field, swimming, weight training, badminton and floor hockey, said Ingrid Cleffi, executive director of Adaptive Sports and Recreation, a Simi Valley-based therapeutic recreation program and camp co-sponsor, along with CSUN.

The program ends Friday, when the campers--ages 7 to 21--will demonstrate their new athletic skills, said Cleffi, who is serving as camp director.


“Most of the kids who take part in the camp don’t realize that they themselves could become athletes,” she said. “Once they finish the wheelchair sports camp, their horizons have just expanded.”

Assisting were 54 counselors and volunteers, many of whom are wheelchair-bound, including camp co-director Ellen Stohl.

“It’s great to watch the kids grow during the course of the week,” Stohl said. “Also, the variety of activities gives them the opportunity to discover different things about themselves, such as which sports they enjoy most and which sports they’re good at.”

One example is April Flinn, 18, who on Monday discovered she has a flair for basketball.

Flinn, who also has cerebral palsy, scored six baskets during a five-on-five wheelchair basketball game.

“I was shocked by how good she did,” said Carri Moeller, a camp volunteer.

Said Flinn: “It felt really good.”