Insight Summer Newsletter 2023

BC Blind Sports July 2023 Newsletter


1. 2023 Canadian Para-Bowls Championships, Calgary Alberta, July 24-30, 2023.
2. Blind Tennis.
3. BC Blind Sports Athlete Makes the National Team Headed to the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship.
4. In-Person Program Updates.
5. Online Program Updates.
6. 2023 Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships July 27-30.
7. Fall Blind Ice Hockey Season.
8. Celebrating Disability Pride Month.
9. Contact Us.

1. 2023 Canadian Para-Bowls Championships, Calgary Alberta, July 24-30, 2023

The 2023 Canadian Para-Bowls Championships will take place at the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club in Calgary Alberta from July 24th to 30th. BC Blind Sports is represented by 3 bowlers and 3 directors from Nanaimo BC. Good Bowling to Randy Fred with Director Adrian Hewitt, David Ruckman with Director Donn Sherry, and Jay Gatley with Director Roelie Roos! The bowlers will be supported by sport guides (Directors) Donn Sherry, Roelie Roos, and Adrian Hewitt.

2. Blind Tennis

The blind tennis program takes place at the Coquitlam Poirier Community Centre! If you would like to participate, please register as soon as possible by contacting or phoning the office.

Background and History

A blind and low vision tennis ball is larger and contains bearings that make a sound as it moves or bounces. Athletes use shorter racquets and often play on smaller indoor court than is typical in traditional tennis.

Tennis adapted for the visually impaired was introduced to Canadians in 2011 by Alan Ma, through the Blind Tennis Program in Toronto. Alan launched the program after being inspired by blind tennis programs in the United Kingdom and in Japan, where the sport originated from.

Check out this video, AMI: Accessible Media Inc. – Blind Tennis, featuring BC Blind Sports, to learn more about blind tennis.

3. BC Blind Sports Athlete Makes the National Team Headed to the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship

Congratulations to Rebecca Armstrong for making the National Dragon Boat Team! Check out Becky’s letter below, describing her experiences with getting on the team and their journey to the championship in Thailand:

October 2022 – Introduction Training Camp & Testing
Paddlers had a choice of attending camp in Burnaby, BC or Welland, ON. At the camp every paddler was tested on both the P-erg (Paddling Ergonomic) machine and the dragon boat. P-erg is a rowing machine designed specifically for dragon boating. The paddler sits in a raised seat with their feet braced in front, like they are sitting in a dragon boat. The cables are attached to weights to mimic the pull of the water and are adjusted based on the gender of the paddler. The P-erg measures times, stroke rate and distance. The testing started with a two-minute “paddle”, followed by an hour rest, and then another four-minute paddle. A couple of hours later, we hit the water for a 90-minute session. This session was led by the National Para Dragon coach, Katy Milne. Katy had the team doing timing drills and a lot of technique training. The on-water sessions were recorded in order for the coach to evaluate our paddling and give us feedback.

After the National coach sent me my video reviews, I was able to go over them with the VI coach, Pam W., to get a better understanding of what was being asked for. This was incredibly helpful.

December 2022 – Strength Testing
In December, we had a second round of the two- and four-minute P-erg, bench press, and lat pull-down tests. The bench press and pull-down were to be done using half of our body weight. Dragon Boat Canada (DBC) arranged the P-erg testing as there are no public P-ergs in Vancouver, so this was done at a set time and place, but the coach was not in attendance. We were required to record 10 second clips of each P-erg test and the results, and record the full bench press and pull-down tests, with the recordings then sent to the coach.

April 2023 – Strength Testing
This was the same as the October testing and was used by the coach to evaluate the work we did over the winter and our progress.

May 2023 – Selection Camp
In May, we had a two-day, in person camp in Montreal. Day 1 we had two boat sessions, followed by video feedback. We were supposed to do P-erg testing again, but the machines were not available. Day 2 we did three boat sessions. Each session was very technical, working on timing and stroke technique. The sessions were recorded for video review and feedback.

After the Montreal camp, the coach contacted each of us to let us know if we made the team. Overall, there were 20 Para Paddlers and 40 non-Para paddlers in competition for the team. Thirteen paddlers from each category made the final team. Individuals were not required to say what qualified them to be a Para Paddler, and most of us did not have visible disabilities. To the best of my knowledge, three of the Para Paddlers have vision loss, one has auditory issues, and the rest I do not know.

There is a big financial component involved in the process. Paddlers have to pay DBC in order to attend the training camps and then pay for the flights to Thailand, hotel, and Team Canada uniforms. The fees for the camps allow DBC to cover the costs incurred by the coaches and managers.

“Overall, it has been an incredible experience so far. I’ve met some exceptional folks and everybody has done their best to be as inclusive as possible. One non-para paddler went to his work place between Day 1 and 2 in order to grab some high-vis tape to put on his paddle so I could see it better while paddling.”

We will be cheering for you, Becky, and the whole Dragon Boat Team representing Canada! Stay tuned to BC Blind Sports social media channels for updates.

4. In-Person Program Updates

Kelowna – In-person Fitness Classes
The Kelowna in-person fitness classes have a new location! If you or someone you know in the Kelowna area is interested in trying the classes, email or call the office at 1-877-604-8638. The classes are held on Thursdays at 5:15 PM.

The class instructor, Cindy, is excited to work with you and see how the participants benefit from the program. Cindy is a certified fitness instructor with BCRPA and has a certificate in Health Coaching. Cindy also leads our online dryland and fitness programs on Monday evenings, does dragon boat paddling and helps coach the Sonar Dragon’s team in Kelowna.

Chilliwack – In-person Chair Yoga Classes
BC Blind Sports is still seeking an instructor for our in-person Yoga and fitness program in Chilliwack so we can resume the classes. In the meantime, the online classes will continue, led by Candice.

Nanaimo – In-person Fitness Classes
The Nanaimo in-person fitness classes, led by Brian, will take a break in July and August and return in September. Email or call the office at 1-877-604-8638 if you are interested in joining in the fall.

5. Online Program Updates

All online programs, except Brian’s Wednesday classes, will continue as they have proven to be a wonderful success.

These programs have made it possible for all, regardless of their physical location, to join in and be active. For some, the classes have allowed them to get to know their bodies and their body movement; for others it’s been about getting a workout and keeping active. Members have reconnected with old friends and created new ones.

Summer Schedule
Chair Yoga with Candice – Sundays and Thursdays
Dragon Boat Fitness with Cindy – Monday evenings
Fitness with Brian – Thursday evenings
BC Blind Sports Active Living Network – Meets once every 4 to 5 weeks.

For information on any of our programs, please email or call the office at 604-325-8638 or 1-877-604-8638.

6. 2023 Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships July 27-30

The 2023 Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships will be taking place July 27th to the 30th at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley BC.

The Championships will feature our best Canadian Para Athletes, who have been taking Paris by storm during the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, up and coming future Para Athletics athletes, as well as Olympic athletes.

Click here for the full schedule of events  (subject to change, expect another update before the start of the event).

7. Fall Blind Ice Hockey Season

The Ice Hockey program is open to new participants learning hockey and those who are already experienced in hockey. The only participation requirement is to be a BC Blind Sports member in good standing. The season will run from September 2023 to March 2024.

Below please find information about the ice times booked in Surrey on Sundays from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Fall 2023 Ice times:
September 3, 10, 17, 24,
October 1, 15, 22, 29
November 12, 19,
December 03, 10, 17, 24
No ice time on October 08, November 05, and November 26

Winter 2024 Ice Times:
January 7, 14, 21, 28
February 11, 18, 25
March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
No ice time on February 4

For more information or to attend the program, contact

8. Celebrating Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and rights of individuals with disabilities. BC Blind Sports is an organization made by and for individuals with visual disabilities, with the belief that blind, partially sighted, and deafblind people deserve to live an active lifestyle. We are a welcoming organization and celebrate each member’s accomplishments – from signing up to a new fitness class to winning a championship to helping a teammate across the finish line.

9. Contact Us

For information on any of our programs and activities, please email or or call the office at 604-325-8638 or 1-877-604-8638. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you’re having a wonderfully active summer!

BC Blind Sports Staff: Jane, David, Lachlan, Linda and Susan

BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association
#606 – 4980 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4K7