Opening of the fitness center for special needs
UCAN, or Unique Center for Athletes of All Needs, is a new place in Sandpoint that makes any adult, teen or child with special needs feel comfortable and safe, and provides them with the opportunity to learn more about functional fitness and nutrition.
Owners Kelli and Jacob Bult recently opened the fitness center for people with special needs. Their first son, Caleb, was born with a genetic micro-deletion resulting in the absence of 79 genes. No other child has this same deletion, which makes his health journey truly unique. So Caleb experimented with a number of early intervention therapies through a team of therapists, teachers, and doctors.
“As Caleb grew, my husband and I realized there weren’t a lot of opportunities in the area for local special needs,” Kelli said.
The area lacked places where children, adolescents and adults with special needs could play, interact with each other, socialize and learn skills to improve their health.
“We thought it would be a cool space where Caleb could be with his friends and not be judged.
We saw this as an opportunity to help our son and the special needs community in the area. It was time for us to open the gym,” Kelli said.
UCAN equipment includes a child-friendly rock wall, a wheelchair-accessible arm/leg stationary bike, an adapted harness for treadmill use, a full-support children’s swing, a children’s swing, wheelchair, an adapted play structure and much more.
The facility provides adaptive exercise equipment for physical therapy sessions, special needs group exercise classes, and adaptive physical education tours of local public schools, and includes access to fitness equipment. indoor adapted playground.
“UCAN will run nutrition classes aimed specifically at introducing healthier foods into the diets of our children and adults with special needs. Our goal is to keep classes free for UCAN,” she said. “We want the focus to be on special needs. Special needs are our priority.
The building also has a “for-profit” gym called Unique Fitness, or UFIT, and will be open to the public with a limited number of members and is intended to be an upper level weight club for people with weightlifting experience. This gymnasium will help fund UCAN and keep classes free.
“Our goal is to make this public gym affordable,” she said. “Eventually we see fitness events and Special Olympics in our future.”
UCAN will host an open house on Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m.
UCAN is located at 1007 W. Superior Street in Sandpoint.
For more information, visit ucansandpoint.org.