Monday, June 27, 2016

iCanBike Cambridge!

Thanks to Nina Katz-Christy for her Guest Post about her iCan Bike experience. I recently met Nina at our annual Adaptive Recreation Fair in Brighton, MA and was delighted to meet such a young person already on board with facilitating adaptive recreation in her community. The power of volunteering changes lives!

A few years ago, I decided to volunteer at Arlington’s first iCan Bike Camp. These camps are hosted all across the country through iCan Shine, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching individuals with disabilities to ride conventional two-wheel bicycles. When I signed up to volunteer, I had no idea what to expect. The first day, I was very nervous but quickly got to know the riders and other volunteers. I immediately fell in love with the program and continued volunteering for the next few years.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Importance of Adaptive Recreation Fairs

On June 4, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation hosted an annual Adaptive Recreation Fair at Artesani Park in Brighton, MA. DCR's Universal Access Program has offered this friendly fair since 2007 to promote and kickoff the summer accessible recreation season in the greater Boston area and to provide a variety of adaptive bicycles for participants to ride.

People with disabilities and their families, friends and caregivers attend the fair to participate in an array of other activities and to sign up for summer recreation opportunities. Each year the fair has provided lots of delight and inspiration for those who attend. As it gradually builds a presence in the community over the years, I am reveling in the many special benefits of such an annual event.

People who attend discover whole new worlds of possibility opening up before them. First, there is an exceptionally welcoming crowd of people staffing 20 booths representing  organizations offering cool accessible things to do from amputee surfing to therapeutic horseback riding. Second, the advancements in adaptive recreation equipment continue to expand levels of ability - from newly manufactured recumbent trikes from Terra Trike to a locally designed independent hiking wheelchair like the GRIT Freedom Chair.

An exciting triumph of design is the ParaGolfer, an all terrain power wheelchair that can stand you up so you can swing a golf club anywhere on the course. Both the Freedom Chair and the ParaGolfer are recent advancements in adaptive equipment that DCR's Universal Access Program discovered at this event, then purchased for use in Massachusetts State Parks. Tom McCarthy, Universal Access Program director, tried the ParaGolfer for the first time this year and was thrilled to stand up in it.