What is GUMBO?
(Games Uniting Mind and Body) is an interscholastic track and field competition
designed for children ages 5 to 18 years of age who have physical or visual
disabilities. The events are not unlike those at any other track and field
event: races, shot put, discus, etc. What makes GUMBO different is the fact
that all of the athletes have a mobility or visual impairment and most compete
with leg braces, wheelchairs, or with assistance from a sighted person. The
athletes competing in GUMBO are not intellectually disabled. Their eligibility
for the competition comes from having a physical disability or visual
impairment, and they compete with athletes who have similar or like
strives to support students with disabilities in developing active minds,
self-confidence, dignity, discipline, competitive spirit and comradeship. Like
other competitive sporting events, GUMBO competitions offer athletes a contest
with self, challenging each person to improve performance, strength, speed,
endurance and coordination.
is the Purpose of GUMBO?
purpose of the GUMBO program is to provide athletic/recreation opportunities,
for children and youth who have physical or visual disabilities, that promote
healthy lifestyles. GUMBO competition is based on a philosophy that endorses
participation in sports as having strong therapeutic and social value.
Typically, Special Olympics is not appropriate for these students and they have
limited opportunities to participate in or be exposed to high school
interscholastic or extracurricular sports. The secondary purpose of GUMBO is to
train professionals and parents to coach and prepare the athletes properly.
should experience the lessons learned from winning and losing.
The entire competitive experience should come as an extension of learning the
correct way of performing a skill, knowing the equipment, conditioning the
body, and, finally, of competing. Children and young adults with disabilities
can successfully integrate into community road races and other athletic events
(wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, etc.) with a little training and
practical experience. In this way, GUMBO fills a very special need!
1. To support
youth with disabilities in developing active minds, self confidence, dignity,
discipline and independence.
health and fitness in youth and young adults with physical disabilities.
individuals, along with their families, the opportunity to interact with others
of similar disabilities and interests while developing new friendships.
personal aspirations by increasing self-worth, motivation and confidence.
life-long skills such as team effort, sportsmanship, goal setting, commitment,
and responsibility to oneself and to a team.
potential for a lifetime of recreation and/or sports.
7. Educate the
community, parents and professionals on the capabilities of those with physical
resident, age 5 through 18, who has a physical or visual disability is eligible
for competition. Students 19 to 22 are allowed to compete if they are enrolled
full-time in a public school special education program. Examples of disability
are spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, amputations, muscular dystrophy,
spina bifida, other orthopedic disabilities, and most visual impairments. GUMBO
is for ALL children with physical or visual impairments, not just for
those receiving special educational services.
Where and When are the Competitions?
events are held each year. The regional competitions are held each spring in
Shreveport, New Orleans, Alexandria. and Lafayette. The GUMBO INVITATIONAL
(state competition) is held each fall in Alexandria. A Boccia State Tournament
is also held each year. Additional competitions or sport clinics are scheduled
in other areas of the state when a significant number of students are
interested. For more details visit our page on What's Cooking?
Does it Cost to Participate?
There are no
entry fees for GUMBO events. Regional and state competitions are scheduled on
Friday or Saturday, and most participating school systems can provide or assist
with transportation for the athletes. At the state competition, lodging and
meals are provided for the athletes and their coaches.
Coaches the GUMBO Athlete?
Most of the
athletes at the elementary school level are coached by a physical education
teacher, classroom teacher, or a parent. Athletes at the secondary level are
usually coached by a physical education teacher or the high school track coach.
Anyone can volunteer to coach an athlete with a disability. Coaching methods
are not unlike those used with able-bodied athletes. With a little bit of
technical assistance and training, anyone can become a GUMBO coach!
Sponsors GUMBO Competitions?
activities are collaboratively sponsored by the Louisiana Department of
Education, Division of Special Populations, Louisiana GUMBO, Inc., the
Louisiana Elks Association, and Families Helping Families at the CrossRoads.
All aspects of GUMBO events are organized and initiated by volunteers. Each
agency/organization provides both monetary contributions and unlimited hours of
GUMBO does not
have a paid staff. The members of the Board of Directors for Louisiana GUMBO,
Inc. are volunteers representing parents, coaches, officials, business and
industry, and education. The Executive Director and Program Coordinator are
employed by agencies that collaboratively support GUMBO (Lousiana Department of
Education and Families Helping Families at the CrossRoads), and as such,
allocate a portion of employee time to this exceptional program.
Can I Get My Student/Child Involved in GUMBO?
information, an entry form for competition, or the GUMBO rules, contact Pam
Carey, Program Coordinator, (Families Helping Families at the CrossRoads),
phone 1-800-259-7200, 318- 452-7771, or email Carey33452@aol.com.
Workshops, clinics, and seminars are scheduled throughout the year in various
locations for parents, teacher, athletes, and volunteers. Registration and
participation are always free of charge.
Can I Help GUMBO?
GUMBO currently serves
fewer than 1/3 of the students in our state who have physical or visual
disabilities. In order to expand into additional areas of the state and improve
opportunities for students, GUMBO needs financial support. Louisiana GUMBO, Inc.
is recognized as nonprofit and is exempt from federal income tax under Section
501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in Section
501(c)(3). Monies or services donated to Louisiana GUMBO, Inc. are used
directly for the program and the children it serves; the donations are tax
deductible. To make a donation please make your checks payable to GUMBO, Inc.
and mail to GUMBO, Inc, 2840 A Military Hwy, Pineville, LA 71360
volunteers are always needed to work the competitions as assistant officials,
student aides, food service, etc.; or to help in the office with mailings,
copying, and computer work. Whether you prefer indoors or out-of-doors,
activities or desk work, GUMBO has a place for you.
For more information please contact Pam Carey, Program Coordinator, (Families
Helping Families at the CrossRoads), phone 1-800-259-7200, 318-452-7771, or