The Arc Baton Rouge recently hosted a group of Colombian physical education professionals and sports advisers interested in the Arc’s inclusive recreation program.

The program is a partnership between The Arc BR, BREC and YMCA of the Capital Area in which people with and without disabilities participate together in noncompetitive sports. It was launched in Baton Rouge in 2001.

“It doesn’t take much to start up a game, just a ball and an area to play,” said Lauren O’Neill, inclusive recreation coordinator for The Arc BR. “But the widespread benefits are endless when people with and without disabilities play, learn and grow healthier and happier together.”

The Arc’s presentation described the program’s design and goals and outlined sports and other recreational activities under the “Every Body Plays” umbrella, a news release said.

“We have 15 years of success stories to share, as well as necessary changes and improvements along the way,” said Arc BR Executive Director Barry Meyer.

Translators helped the guests describe the difficulties young people with disabilities face in Colombia, where many are shunned by society or recruited by armed forces. Often, such people have scarce resources and few opportunities.

Guests represented Sport Power 2, a Colombian government project being developed to support and protect students with disabilities, as well as the Colombian School of Physical Educators, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia Department of Sports, Recreation and Physical Activity, and Ave Fenix Foundation.

The visitors were invited to the United States as part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program arranged by the Institute of International Education, the release said.