The National Association for Recreational Equality (NARE) was formed in 19971 by Dr. Reeve R. Brenner to educate the public and advocate with communities concerning the need for non-aggressive, fully inclusive sports and recreation.2 As a group of park and recreation specialists, professional and non-professional community leaders, designers and consultants, and human services commissions, NARE endorses total mix sports and recreational play spaces based on universal design.3
In the short term, NARE's goal is to create a balance in each community. In every community where there is a typical sport facility installed, they want to augment it by the installation of a sport facility that is inclusive to those who are cognitively or physically challenged. Noting that “accessibility provides no assurance of inclusion,” NARE advocates for sports where the participants play alongside each other rather than against each other.4 The elimination of “offense and defense” provides the opportunity for increased integration and socialization among all members of the community.
They further focus on sports that are based on skill, practice, and intelligence rather than those that depend on strength, stamina, speed, and size. An example of such a total mix sport is Bankshots, created by Dr. Brenner in 1981. Bankshot is a revision of basketball where the baskets are eight feet off the ground and organized in stations of increasing difficulty. Dr. Brenner designed unusual backboards, called bankboards, to challenge the shooting skills of all participants - whether able-bodied, disabled, old, young, physically fit or not.
NARE's long range goal is to sponsor the development of inclusionary, total mix ball playing sports, sometimes called “family sports.” Bankshot Sports, sponsored by NARE, has created Bankshot Basketball, Bankshot Tennis, Bankshot Soccer, and Bankshot Pitch and Throw. All of these “level the playing field” and create the opportunity for full “inclusion, integration and socialization” of the community, which is at the core of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.5
Additionally, with the creation of inclusionary sports and the installation of total mix sport facilities alongside the basketball courts and soccer fields of each community, NARE believes lessons of civility and cultural growth of the children and their communities are enhanced.6
- 1. “National Association for Recreational Equality, Inc.” Charityblossom. < http://www.charityblossom.org/nonprofit/national-association-for-recreational-equality-inc-rockville-md-20852-521974776/ > 9 Oct 2011.
- 2. Ray, Alan. “Brenner's Bankshot and Naismith's Basketball: Clergymen at Play.” Email to Playground Professionals. 30 Sep. 2011.
- 3. “The National Association for Recreational Equality.” NARE Let's Play Fair. < http://www.nareletsplayfair.com/articles/014.php > 30 Sep. 2011.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. Ibid.