Beep Ball at Alberta Banks Park
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 31
Where: Alberta Banks Park “Field of Dreams,” 5575 Jim Crow Road, Flowery Branch
Cost: Free for students in Partners for Success club
More info: 706-778-5355
Partnering with the Hall County School System, the Disability Resource Center will host Beep Ball from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Alberta Banks Park in Flowery Branch.
Beep Ball, or kickball for the visually impaired, teaches sensitivity and inclusion, said Nancy Peeples, executive director of the Disability Resource Center. And it has become an annual event for the school system and center, which is a private, nonprofit organization committed to providing an array of services to assist individuals with disabilities to live independently, pursue meaningful goals and have the same opportunities and choices as all persons.
“We have done this for years. It’s our ninth year,” she said, noting the organization offers such services to bring awareness and education to the community. “We partner with Hall County’s ‘Partnership for Success’ clubs. That is a program within their schools that pairs a student with a special education student.”
During the game, every child wears blinders whether or not he or she has a special need.
“A child (who) is visually impaired and a child (who) is not visually impaired are going to experience it the same when they get up to the plate,” she said.
All students must listen for the beeping ball to come toward them and then kick it. As the ball rolls into the field, the bases buzz and runners take off for them.
“The goal is for the outfield, who are blind folded as well, to find the ball before the individual runs to first base or third base,” Peeples said. “Basically what that allows is, it puts everybody on the same playing field.”
While the event teaches “sensitivity and inclusion,” it’s also just a “fun day out in the park,” Peeples said.
She said she expects a few hundred to participate at the park.
“You’re looking at 250 kids and probably 300 by the time you include adults,” she said.
But playing the game is not the only activity. Peeples said it includes a T-shirt contest.
“Hall County classes submit for our T-shirt designs,” she said. “The kids turn in the artwork, and we as group choose the winning design,” she said.
Beep Ball is only offered to high school students, but Peeples hopes to change that soon.
“Our hope is, because we feel like it is such a fun venue that teaches so much, we would love to be able to open it up to the middle schools and the lower schools to be able to start at an earlier age,” she said.