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March 2019 Newsletter (Issue 4)

Anchor 1
Leadership Award Naming
Hamilton Accessible Sports Council
Kassi Boyd at University of Alberta
Methods and Life Course Studies
International Symposium on Adapted Physical Activity
President's Message:
Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Ph.D.

 Dear NAFAPA Affiliates,


Greetings from the NAFAPA Board! I would like to start this note by thanking all members of the Organizing Committee of our 2018 symposium that took place at Oregon State University this past October. The symposium was very successful, attracting a diverse international audience from many countries. I am confident that all attendees enjoyed observing the impactful scientific undertakings of our members and the multiple opportunities to learn and to interact with each other, strengthening old ties and developing new ones. 


This edition of the NAFAPA Newsletter highlights the work of the Hamilton Accessible Sports

Council—a not-for-profit organization fostering inclusion in physical activity programs for people experiencing disability in the Hamilton, Ontario area. The Newsletter also proudly highlights the work of Kassi Boyd, a doctoral student who studies inclusion in children experiencing disability under the mentorship of Dr. Shannon Phelan at the University of Alberta. Dr. Martin Block, the acting IFAPA President, in a message found on page six of this Newsletter, invites us to the International Symposium on Adapted Physical Activity which will take place this June at the University of Virginia. I would like to state here that our Newsletter reflects the work and enthusiasm of its new editors—Krystn Orr and Steven Holland—two of the five student representatives, all of whom serve tirelessly on the NAFAPA Board.

The NAFAPA Board has been working with diligence in advancing the mission of our organization. Here are some updates:


  • In an effort to increase awareness of NAFAPA initiatives and the work of our members, the Board decided to increase the publication rate of our Newsletter to three issues per year.

  • For the same reason, we developed a Twitter account. Please follow us on Twitter @NorthAmericaAPA!

  • The Board voted favorably on a proposal for developing a NAFAPA Student Ambassador Network at universities throughout North America. The goal of this program is to empower students and to stimulate their engagement in NAFAPA initiatives. Information on the Student Ambassador Program will be posted on our website shortly.

  • The Board recently sent out an invitation for proposals for naming our newly established Leadership Award after an exceptional scholar in Adapted Physical Activity. The call for proposals is included in the present Newsletter on page three and can also be found on our website.

  • The Board has been working towards increasing channels of communication and partnerships with affiliate organizations.

  • We are also presently revisiting our Bylaws. More specifically, we are reconsidering our mission and vision statements. In doing so, we will attempt to engage all of you.


Please feel free to contact the Board with your thoughts, ideas, and criticism—NAFAPA is your organization!


Thank you,

Stamatis Agiovlasitis

Leadership Award
Leadership Award:
Request for proposals for naming the NAFAPA Leadership Award 

The North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) is requesting proposals for naming the newly-established NAFAPA Leadership Award. The NAFAPA Board is seeking to name the award after an exceptional individual who has made significant professional contributions to the field of Adapted Physical Activity and to NAFAPA over the course of her/his career.


Description of the Award

The Leadership Award is presented biennially at the time of the NAFAPA symposium. The NAFAPA Leadership Award is the most prestigious award offered by NAFAPA. The NAFAPA Leadership Award is granted to an individual with a distinguished career of outstanding professional contributions to the field of Adapted Physical Activity.


Important Clarification

The present request for proposals is for naming the award (i.e., for giving this award the name of an exceptional individual). The request is not for nominating potential recipients for the award.



The person who submits the proposal must be a NAFAPA member. Self-nominations are not allowed. All required documents must be submitted to Emily Bremer via email at by April 15th 2019. All submitted documents must be in PDF form.


The following materials are required:

  1. A cover letter presenting a compelling case for the individual. The letter should clearly outline the individual’s contributions to Adapted Physical Activity and to NAFAPA.

  2. Up to three letters of support by other professionals who can attest to the individual’s contributions (no more than 3 letters of support should be submitted).


Evaluation Procedure

Proposals will be evaluated by the full NAFAPA Board and the decision will be made by majority vote by June 1st 2019. 


Community Spotlight
Community Spotlight:
Hamilton Accessible Sports Council (HASC)

HASC is a volunteer organization that supports community groups and associations that provide sports for individuals with a disability. It was started in 2011 with a grant from Parasport Ontario, but it has gone on to be an independent not-for-profit organization.


Goals for the organization include:

  1. Create awareness of sport for persons with disabilities.

  2. Unite disability organizations in order to: share resources and knowledge, and create a strong voice to advocate for program and service development and accessibility throughout the community.

  3. Involve local or regional groups at the municipal level in creating sport opportunities for persons with disabilities.

  4. Encourage support for the programs: Volunteers and fundraising.

  5. Train and motivate leadership to ensure excellence in: focus, direction and results in HASC activities, fiscal responsibility, and mentoring existing and emerging leaders of partner programs for persons with disabilities.


HASC has been involved in advocating for programs, facilities, accessibility, and inclusion in recreation in the Hamilton area, staff training events and workshops, and assisting with various research projects for university students in the area.


In 2014 and 2015 the council ran an accessible tower climb at McMaster University. Year one was a fundraiser, bringing organizations together with individuals with a disability to climb a 60 ft. high tower. Year two was just for individuals with a disability to climb the tower to prove to themselves and the community that there is nothing they cannot do when they put their mind to it. They may have to do things slightly differently than what would be considered mainstream, but that doesn’t matter. Both events were a huge success!


In 2016 we participated in the organizing of the Physical Literacy Summit in the Hamilton area that brought like-minded individuals together to discuss and learn about physical literacy. It also opened the doors to the discussion of physical literacy for those with a disability.


In 2018 HASC was successful in securing an Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed grant to create a Para Athletics program for the Hamilton community which was quite a success with 25 volunteers and 30 participants registered. As managing programs is not HASC’s mandate, following the grant the program has been adopted by the Hamilton Olympic Club that is now managing and growing the program.


We are currently supporting the grant applications of both the City of Hamilton to access accessibility equipment for their recreation centres and the Hamilton Collaborative Partnership Group, Community Hub/Multi-Sport Facility Project to build an accessible facility within the Hamilton community. Our next project? An adapted hockey program aiming to open in 2020.


For more information, or to join us, contact Chair: Denise McArthur

Student Highlight
Student Highlight:
Kassi Boyd | University of Alberta

Kassi is in her second year at the University of Alberta pursuing a doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Science under the guidance of Dr. Shanon Phelan. Her research interests include childhood disability and inclusion. Her dissertation research will focus on the intersections of child-driven culture, disability, and inclusion through a critical disability studies lens.


After completing her bachelor’s degree in physical education, Kassi worked for an organization supporting kids with autism and their families and privately as a community aide for a young boy with autism. During this time, she experienced attitudinal, social, and structural barriers that made it difficult for children with autism and their families to participate fully in their communities. The families' stories of exclusion, indignity, and mistreatment led her to pursue a master’s degree in adapted physical activity with Dr. Donna Goodwin at the University of Alberta.


To date, she has co-authored two published research articles. Kassi’s most recent work is featured as an advanced online publication in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. The study explores one young family with a child with autism’s experience of (in)dignity during family leisure time.


In addition to her own research pursuits and interests, Kassi also serves as a teaching assistant, research assistant, and holds roles in outside organizations. She serves as a research assistant on a project with Norquest College and within the Supporting Kids Inclusion and Participation (SKIP) Lab at the University of Alberta. She currently serves as the grant writer and conference coordinator for The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement, University of Alberta.  

Reader's Corner
Upcoming Event
Upcoming Event:
International Symposium on Adapted Physical Activity
June 14-18, 2019 | University of Virginia | Charlottesville, Virginia

Message from IFAPA President Dr. Martin Block


As President of the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (IFAPA), it is my pleasure to offer greetings, support and excitement for the International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA) 2019. IFAPA is an international scientific organization of higher education scholars, practitioners and students dedicated to promoting international cooperation, research and knowledge in adapted physical education, disability sports and therapeutic recreation. The North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity is one of seven regional representatives to IFAPA.


We are excited that the International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA) is returning to North America for the first time in over 25 years. ISAPA will be June 14-18, 2019, in Charlottesville, VA. Charlottesville is located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The city offers wonderful restaurants, breweries and shopping, all within walking distance of the conference hotels and university. Neighbouring Albemarle County has numerous wineries that host tastings as well as hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Charlottesville and the surrounding area are steeped in rich history. Several former United States Presidents lived in the area including Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia. We hope by choosing the United States as host country that ISAPA 2019 will attract a great deal of interest and participation by APA scholars and practitioners from the United States and Canada who may have not participated in recent ISAPAs held in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. And of course we anticipate many APA scholars and practitioners worldwide will come and share their work and enjoy a visit to the United States.


ISAPA includes four keynotes speakers: Tim Shriver, President of Special Olympics International, David Legg, former President of the Canada Paralympic Committee, Thomas Frazier, Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, and Alison Cernich, Director, National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Other program highlights include “Autism day” on Monday with a focus on research and programming specific to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and dinner at neighbouring Morven Farms (this is only for professors and researchers paying the full registration fee), and a three-day practitioner-focused workshop that includes new Special Olympics programs and initiatives, special programs for children and adults with ASD, disability sports including modifying sport to include students with disabilities, and finally unique programs for students with severe disabilities.


For more information and to register for the ISAPA, visit our website ( hope to see you at ISAPA 2019 this summer in Charlottesville!

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