In a Spetzgart Forum talk, paraplegic athlete Andrea Szabadi-Heine spoke about her own experiences. The invitation came from four students who had undertaken multi-day Duke of Edinburgh excursions in a wheelchair.
What possibilities are available for individuals confined to wheelchairs, and where are the limitations? These were some of the questions which we four friends at Salem College wanted to be able to answer for ourselves. This led, last year, to our taking part in the Gold level of the outdoor oriented Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme, not on foot, like the others, but in a wheelchair. During the three multi-day expeditions we gathered a lot of experience and encountered not only physical but also psychological challenges, even while we could also see certain opportunities.
Then it came time to wrap up this large-scale project, which also involved the search for sponsors and the preparation of extensive documentation through photos and videos. We decided that the ideal conclusion would be to invite the paraplegic athlete Andrea Szabadi-Heine, who lives in the nearby Allgäu, to visit our school at the end of January 2022. To start off, we four held a coaching session with Szabadi-Heine during which we could share with her our personal experiences. Afterwards our guest held a talk as part of the school’s Spetzgart Forum, in which she explained the significance of social inclusion in outdoor sports. She was also able to make it clear to us how many possibilities physically handicapped individuals have.
Her talk was highly inspiring and raised the level of awareness about social inclusion at our school. Furthermore, we learned that there are already many successful projects that make social inclusion their top priority. Personally, I found it especially impressive to see what range of sports is also possible for people in wheelchairs if one is prepared to help one another and not give up easily.
Katharina Flatt, IB2