Cache Valley students are a “FORCE to be reckoned with!”
On Monday, September 27, 2021, Green Canyon hosted an outdoor carnival-style event called Special Forces Sports Day. The purpose of the day was to bring students in Life Skills classes, athletes, and general education students together for a day of adapted sports, fun, and learning from each other in the process. Post High, Logan City School District, Thomas Edison Charter Schools, and Cache County schools were all invited to participate in the event.
Various clubs and sports teams set up and ran carnival booths with activities such as soccer, relay races, lacrosse, wrestling, a dunk tank, and other events that were adapted to fit any ability. Students, staff, and volunteers were given shirts that corresponded with the school they attend.
Alisha Rawlins, a special education teacher at Green Canyon, believes that the value of participating in an event such as this is to bring the community together and help general education students learn more about their peers. “A lot of the students in the Life Skills classes don’t get a chance to interact with their peers in a social setting,” Rawlins explained. “This gives peers the chance to work more with those students in a fun social setting and learn more about disabilities and adaptations.”
The founder and CEO of the Special Forces Sports Foundation, “Dr.” Matt Lance, started the foundation in 2018 as a nonprofit organization to help students in Life Skills classes and general education students interact and learn from each other. This program connects basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis into a format where students with special needs can come together to enjoy a day of adapted sports.
Lance is a P.E.teacher and a football coach in Southern California. After playing football for Utah State, Lance coached football and wrestling at Sky View. He started the Special Forces Sports Foundation to give every student an equal opportunity to participate in activities and come together. “We like to allow the community to support these students as it not only benefits our children with special needs but also benefits the student-athletes and shows them that there is more to life than focusing on their sport,” Lance explains. “ It gives them a chance to look outside themselves and interact with an amazing population of students that they might not interact with otherwise, and also helps build compassion and empathy.”