Turnstone is using its connections to make history in adaptive sports.
From April 21-23, Turnstone will host its portion of the Endeavor Games Series, the first city to do so outside of Edmond, Okla.
The Endeavor Games were founded in 2000 at the University of Central Oklahoma to provide those of all ages with physical disabilities the opportunity to learn about adaptive sports and compete against those with similar disabilities.
In 2014 the Endeavor Games was awarded the Rings of Gold award from the U.S. Olympic Committee, and began to look at offering the games outside UCO, according to its website.
That conversation soon included Turnstone CEO Mike Mushett, said Michelle Kimpel, Turnstone director of wellness and adaptive sports.
Turnstone staff visited the facilities at UCO, and two staff from Oklahoma came to Fort Wayne in the fall, Kimpel said.
The Endeavor Games include sport clinics to introduce people to various sports, while also having competitive sports for everyone from new players to those looking to compete at such events as the Paralympics.
The event is open to anyone of any skill level, Kimpel said, and will be divided into those 15 and younger and those 16 and older.
Fort Wayne’s event will include air rifle shooting, boccia, goalball, swimming, table tennis and track and field sport clinics, introducing people to some of these sports for the first time, Kimpel said.
There will also be Paralympic classifications for swimming and track and field, she said.
Athletes of all levels will also be able to compete in air rifle shooting, boccia, goalball, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. The event is a sanctioned one, Kimpel said, so those looking to compete in events like the Paralympics can use their finishes to help them qualify.
Though most of the activities will take place at the Turnstone campus on North Clinton Street, the air rifle shooting clinic and competition will take place at the X Count and the swimming events will take place at the Carroll High School natatorium.
Ground transportation will be available, Kimpel said.
In its first 17 years the Endeavor Games have been successful. In 2000, 91 athletes participated from seven states and Australia, according to the Endeavor website. Last year, the event hosted 310 athletes from 38 states and Puerto Rico.
Turnstone is hoping for a similar turnout to that 2000 attendance, Kimpel said, with the hope of 100 athletes attending. Kimpel pointed out several athletes from the Midwest attended the Oklahoma games last year.
Kimpel said hosting the Endeavor Games offers great partnership opportunities for Turnstone.
“We are a Paralympic Sport Club so it gives us the opportunity to work with some of Disabled Sports USA, Adaptive Sports USA, some of the affiliations throughout the country,” she said.
Though this is its first time hosting the Endeavor Games, all of the local sports are already offered at Turnstone.
“(The Endeavor Games are) a great way to display some of the different sports that we offer, so it can hopefully grow some interest for someone…being exposed to something for the first time,” Kimpel said.
For a full weekend schedule, visit endeavorgames.com/fortwayne/schedule.