Field Day for Basalt to Parachute disabled students |

Field Day for Basalt to Parachute disabled students

Alex Zorn

Fifty students participate in the inaugural Encourage-Nurture-Challenge Field Day at Rifle High School last year. The track and field event included significant support needs students from all Garfield School District Re-2 schools.
Kelley Cox | Garfield Re-2

After consecutive successful track and field days for western Garfield County students with disabilities, the annual Encourage-Nurture-Challenge Field Day will expand times three in 2018.

All three of Garfield County’s school districts will be participating in the fun this year. Around 50 Garfield Re-2 elementary, middle and high school students competed last year. Coordinator and Rifle Middle School paraprofessional A.J. McCathern said that as many as 150 to 175 are expected to participate this year.

“It’s a platform for kids to challenge themselves in an environment that they can feel comfortable in,” she explained. “They can have more confidence competing in an event like this than they might on the playgrounds.”

She said that after the success of last year’s event, more local districts reached out to compete in 2018.

With the expansion this year, McCathern stressed how essential local donations will be to ensure that the ENC Field Day continues to grow and build off a strong 2017.

After setting a donation goal of $2,000 in 2017, McCathern has upped that number to $3,000 for 2018.

“We are asking for the community’s help to make this year’s event another great success,” Colorado River Board of Cooperative Education Services Director of Special Education Kristy Slife wrote in a letter to local business owners. “We are seeking financial donations that will help purchase shirts and prizes for each student who participate in the field day.”

At the end of the day, her goal is to provide a safe environment for students in the significant needs program to step out and give them the courage and confidence to try something they may not try in other settings.

McCathern said students kindergarten through high school will be competing in everything from javelin toss to relay races for a what will be a full day of track and field.

“ENC Field Day is a day for students with disabilities to discover new experiences, learn new skills, and celebrate their own successes,” Slife wrote.

This year’s field day will begin Thursday, May 10, and donations are welcome. Slife asks to make donation checks payable to: CR BOCES (ENC Field Day), PO Box 68, Parachute, CO 81635.

McCathern added that whichever school has the most first-, second- and third-place winners gets bragging rights and takes home the trophy until next year.

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