Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

Two pictures together, one of hands on clay using a pottery wheel and the other a woman playing wheelchair tennis

Vision, Mission and Membership

Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) acknowledges the Treaties that were made across all the territories in Alberta as well as the traditional lands of the First Nations, and the Métis people of Alberta who share a deep history with this land. ARPA envisions “an Alberta, and the communities within, that embrace and proactively use recreation and parks as essential means for enhancing the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and our natural and built environments”. APRA’s mission is to “collaborate with [its] members and partners to build healthy citizens, communities and environments, enhancing the wellbeing of all Albertans”. APRA has 1,800 members, including municipal members (both professionals and elected officials), non-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions, corporate businesses, students, and individuals within the recreation and parks sector.

How APRA is Supporting Inclusion and Access for Persons with Disabilities

ARPA actively supports inclusion and access for persons with disabilities in its education and training programs for members and stakeholders. Content and skill development in inclusion and access are a top priority in ARPA’s education and training initiatives, including the Annual ARPA Conference and Energize Workshop, Parks Forum, Leaders’ Summit, and Youth Development through a Recreation Services Symposium. The topics of inclusion and access are also included within other training offerings, such as courses and webinars, and are woven into the recreation and parks course for elected officials.

ARPA also administrates the Alberta Advisory Board on Recreation for the Disabled (AABRD) Legacy Awards and Scholarships program. The AABRD Legacy Award recognizes the achievements of individuals, communities and organizations that advance integrated recreation opportunities for persons with disabilities. The AABRD scholarships assist Albertan students in advancing their undergraduate and graduate-level education in the area of recreation for people with disabilities (e.g., recreation administration, adapted physical education, rehabilitation medicine or other related programs).

Community Spotlights: Wheelchair Sports Alberta and The City of Calgary

Wheelchair Sports Alberta (WSA) is a not-for-profit organization that assists in developing and delivering provincial sport programs and services. Their aim is to offer sport and recreation opportunities for individuals living with physical disabilities. WSA has a strong network of community members across the province. They participate in annual provincial and national games. The Canada Games are Canada’s largest national multi-sport competition, including opportunities for athletes with a disability to compete in parasports. The 2019 games took place in Red Deer Alberta. Alberta excelled in these games and won the wheelchair basketball tournament, with a final standing of six wins and zero losses.

The City of Calgary is leading the way in emphasizing inclusion in recreation for all ability levels. The city emphasizes that participation in recreation is essential throughout the lifespan, regardless of ability. Their aim is to provide numerous programs at the introductory and entry skill level that are designed to be accessible to all. One example of this is the Wildflower Arts Centre, which has a wheelchair accessible pottery wheel, where the height can adjust to the needs of each person, and can be used with a wheelchair or while standing.