The purpose of the Blaze Network is to establish a network of local community-based clubs and organizations providing programs that promote physical activity, healthy lifestyle and competitive sports opportunities for children and adults with a physical disability.
The objectives of the Blaze Network include:
- To enable communication, sharing and maximizing of resources and information between community based providers of sport and physical activity for children and adults with physical disabilities.
- To increase awareness and participation in sport and physical activity opportunities available to children and adults with physical disabilities.
- To provide network members with access to training, education and resources which will enable continued development and high quality provision of sport and physical activity opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities.
- To make the state of Georgia a national leader and example of good practice in the collaborative provision of sports programs that promote physical activity, healthy lifestyle and competitive sports opportunities for children and adults with a physical disability.
Who can join the Blaze Network?
Any sports program, club, parks and recreation department or other organization who is providing opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities to take part in sport, physical activity and/or fitness.
There are 2 ways to join the network
1) As a Network Member
2) As a Blaze Club (Georgia only)
Join as a Network Member or Blaze Club?
There are a range of benefits available to members of the Blaze Network which are detailed in the information below. A Network member can be situated in Georgia, nationally or internationally. A Blaze Club should be situated in Georgia, USA.
The Blaze Club level offers further benefits and includes an additional reporting responsibility on the part of the agency. In order to become a Blaze Club an additional section of the application form must be submitted and approved. The additional benefits and responsibilities are detailed in this document under each section.
What are the benefits of joining the Network?
- Link to a network of like-minded organizations providing sport and physical activity programs for people with physical disabilities.
- Opportunity to join a quarterly conference call to exchange ideas, share successes and update the Network on any relevant news and events.
- Opportunity to join Network Advisory Group – a group of experienced professionals who operate as a knowledge and guidance resource for Network members.
- Access to technical assistance and ongoing advice in all aspects of establishing and continually developing a community sports program that will provide opportunities for residents with physical disabilities of all ages and ability levels.
- Access to ongoing training opportunities for staff, coaches and volunteers.
- Access to BlazeSports’ equipment loan program.
- 10% discount with FlagHouse (adapted sports equipment supplier)
- Invitation to annual network meeting – an opportunity to come together and help shape the future of disability sport in Georgia and beyond.
Additional Resources for Blaze Clubs
- Free access to online CDSS Training program for coaches and volunteers.
- Free access to online National Boccia Certification Program for coaches and volunteers.
- Option of a minimum of 1 annual consultancy visit from BlazeSports Staff member or other qualified expert to your club or program site.
Participation in BlazeSports programs
- Priority enrollment in BlazeSports camps, clinics, certification programs, webinars and competitions for network participants, coaches and staff.
- Invitation to participate in annual Paralympic Sport Festival (to start in 2015).
- Invitation to annual BlazeSports Adapted Sports Coaching and Education Conference in 2014
Additional Participation benefits for Blaze Clubs
- Free entry fee ($100 value) to BlazeSports Adapted Sports Training, Education and Certification Conference 2014 for Blaze club personnel (Max 4 spaces per club)
- Rights to use the Blaze Network Logo.
- Listed on Blaze Network Web Page – a public resource for anyone to find information relating to activity/location/age/disability served etc.
- Access to BlazeSports’ monthly newsletters
Additional Marketing for Blaze Clubs
- Rights to use the Blaze Club Logo
- Opportunity to feature in Club Focus Section of BlazeSports Monthly Newsletter.
- Listed on BlazeSports website and in annual Programs Guide under Blaze Clubs.
- Promotion of club or program events via BlazeSports’ website and social media.
- Opportunity for coaches, volunteers and participants to be nominated at Annual Georgia Disability Sport Awards.
- Overall administration of BlazeSports Network including communication to members, web page maintenance, organization of quarterly conference calls and annual network meeting.
- Organize and/or publicize relevant webinars, clinics and other training and education programs to all network members.
- Organize and publicize Annual Adapted Sports Coaching and Education Conference.
- Organize and/or publicize sport and physical activity program opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities.
- Organize and/or publicize regional sport and physical activity summer camps for youth with a physical disability.
- Organize and/or publicize sport and physical activity opportunities specific to veterans and active duty service members with a physical disability.
- Organize and/or publicize regional and national competitions and events for children and adults with physical disabilities.
- Share strategies and programs to help generate local program funding support.
- Provide/advise on national advocacy for the growth and development of sports for persons with physical disabilities.
- Provide access to and maintain online resource library with training manuals, videos, and other materials specific to providing sport for children and adults with physical disabilities.
Network Member Responsibilities
- Completion of a registration form (renew annually)
- Continued communication and sharing of information relevant to Network members.
Additional Responsibilities for Blaze Clubs
- Consistent use of Blaze Club Logo on publications/website.
- Submit quarterly attendance sheets for recording names and status (athlete, volunteer, staff) of each program participant.
Apply NOW to join the Blaze Network or become a Blaze Club
Please complete the online application (if applying for Blaze Club status please also complete the additional Blaze Club section in this form).
History of BlazeSports
BlazeSports America was originally founded as the U. S. Disabled Athletes Fund, which was the direct legacy of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization was established in 1993 by the board of directors of the Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee to serve as the ongoing legacy organization at the conclusion of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. These were the first Paralympic Games ever held on American soil and represented the realization of the dreams of thousands of Americans involved in the delivery and growth of sports for persons with physical disabilities in the United States.
BlazeSports was named after the popular Atlanta Paralympic Games mascot, Blaze. The Georgia program quickly evolved into a comprehensive operation of year-round community programs, state-level sports camps, clinics, sports teams, and local and regional competitions.
Today BlazeSports America stands on its own as a fully operational 501(c) (3) organization, governed by a Board of Directors consisting of business professionals and advocates committed to the mission of the organization. BlazeSports America continues to partner with community programs to develop clubs and bring more disability sport opportunities to local communities.
Blaze®, the colorful and majestic mascot of the BlazeSports® programs, originally served as the mascot for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games. Blaze® is a phoenix, the mythological bird that rises renewed from its own ashes to start another life. Blaze® represents the triumph evidenced by those who go beyond a physical disability to pursue full and productive lives.
- Paralympic Sport Club (Gold Medal Excellence Program)
- Member of USOC Multi-Sport Organization Council
- 2016 Recipient of US Olympic Committee’s Rings of Gold Award (program award)
- 2016 Recipient of The White House Champions of Change award for serving girls with physical disabilities