LOS ANGELES—Over 45 volunteers participated in the Homenetmen “Hrashq’s” 2nd Coaches’ Training Seminar. The session took place on Sunday, September 15, at the Homenetmen Western Region’s Kevork Andonian Hall.
Following breakfast and registration, Homenetmen “Hrashq” member Nanor Kabakian gave an overview of the program since its inception in 2018, as well as an update on where Homenetmen “Hrashq” is headed for the 2019 to 2020 season. Kabakian reported that there are currently about 45 athletes enrolled, and emphasized how the program has evolved since its athletic director Dave Beard assumed his position in May – thanks to his vast experience in the field. She added that, this year, the program will focus on incorporating inclusion by having middle school and high school volunteers participate in the practices, alongside their special needs peers.
The Kaham game competitions will also follow the inclusion model by allowing a few of the “Hrashq” athletes to compete with their neurotypical peers from Armenian schools, as well as by holding the “Hrashq” competition event at the same time as the other Armenian schools.
Pierre Manoukian, a past Homenetmen Western Region’s Executive Committee member, gave a brief overview of Homenetmen’s Goals and Mission.
Subsequently, Coach Beard gave an informative presentation on how to best support Special Needs athletes’ during practices. He highlighted Homenetmen “Hrashq’s” Mission, reviewed the characteristics of individuals with various diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and others. He both described and demonstrated the specific skills he plans to teach the athletes this year in basketball, soccer, and track & field.
Coach Beard introduced a skills assessment protocol, which will be used to track each athlete’s progress during the season. His presentation included a simulation of the challenges athletes with various disabilities face, including those with gross motor challenges and vision impairment. Volunteers had the opportunity to experience these challenges by being blindfolded, having their arms or legs tied, and then being asked to complete certain tasks.
Following this segment, six Homenetmen “Hrashq” athletes joined the seminar and participated in the hands on training portion of the program, to teach the attendees the skills assessment protocol. The program concluded by reviewing the results of the skills assessments.
Prospective volunteers or athletes may contact the Homenetmen Western Region’s office by calling 323.344.4300 or by emailing Nanor Kabakian at [email protected]