Access to Action: Volunteering with Adaptive Sport Programs

While somebody set the environmental oven to “broil” today in the Northeast, the thought of even moving can be overwhelming, but the heatwave will break and we’ll find ourselves smack dab in the middle of summer activities time. While you might want to grab the bike, or paddles, or hiking boots, for a number of us, it take hundreds of volunteers to open a mountain or lake or long winding road to accessible activity (and those volunteers LOVE the opportunity). Adaptive Sport programs get differently abled people out on ski slopes and into lakes or pools, or rolling down the roads.

There was a guy down the street where I grew up–I used to babysit his kids–who was in a wheelchair and yet seemed more active than almost all the other dads put together. He worked on race cars in his garage all day long, and in the evenings, when the sun was heading down, he schooled us all in basketball, literally playing circles around teenagers who were absolutely NOT taking it easy on him based on how he got around. Gary was unstoppable.

I’ve recently become aware of AbilityPLUS, a New England organization that gets active people even more active by providing adaptive equipment for people with physical or developmental disabilities. Mainstream sport and recreation is opened up with ski chairs or hand bikes or waterski equipment, or several other ingenious uses of technology that changes things up so even if you can’t walk, you can ski, or bicycle, and laugh and get the adrenaline charge of tackling a hill or any other challenge. When barriers are removed, other life obstacles drop away, in a sense of pride and achievement that can feel like, “If that didn’t stop me, what possibly could?!”

There is no way you could volunteer with AbilityPLUS or any other adaptive recreation program, and not have it change your life. When you are a conduit for dignity and slaying goals, you know you’re doing the right thing. Find a way to jump in this summer. Here is a great list of resources to explore.

2 responses to this post.

  1. We also provide services for individuals with cognitive-related disabilities such as mental retardation Down Syndrome autism ADD ADHD and other emotional and behavioral disorders as well as at-risk-youth. Unlike other programs in the adaptive industry that are volunteer-based we send every client out on a private lesson with a professional instructor guide.


  2. We have pulled together some of the facilities in the area that might be of interest to visitors with specific needs…


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