Tag: accessible recreation

Accessible Recreation Provides Exciting Options This Summer

Group of people in kayaks

Take advantage of the many wonderful outdoor accessible activities in Massachusetts this summer. The links below provide information on a number of possibilities-check them out to find a good fit for you.

Please note most programs require preregistration.

All Out Adventures, Easthampton provides outdoor accessible recreational opportunities throughout Massachusetts for people of all abilities, their families and friends. Summer programs include accessible kayaking, canoeing, hiking and cycling. (413) 527-8980, info@alloutadventures.org

Free Accessible Swimming Pools, including lifts, are available at all of the MA State Parks and Recreation Department’s 20 swimming pools.

AccesSport America, Acton offers high-challenge sports for children & adults with disabilities. Programs including kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.
Ross Lilley, Executive Director, info@accessportamerica.org ,
(978) 264-0985

Barrier Free Massachusetts Playgrounds, offers inclusive playgrounds where children and adults of all abilities can play in a fun environment.

CHD Disability Resources – Adaptive Sports Program , Springfield includes a variety of adaptive sports providing barrier-free recreational and competitive opportunities for people of all skill levels and age groups.
Nancy Bazanchuk, Director, nbazanchuk@chd.org, (413) 788-9695

Community Boating, Inc. Universal Access Sailing Program, Charles River in Boston offers persons with disabilities and their guests use of accessible sailboats, transfer equipment, staff assistance for transferring and sailing instruction all for only $1.00.
Marcin Kunicki, UAP Director, (617) 523-1038 x24

Community Rowing, Inc., Charles River in Boston offers beginning and experienced rowers trained staff and adaptive equipment. Call in advance for fees, scheduling, and needs assessment.
Chris Obusek, (617) 779-8267.
Check out CRI Adaptive Rowing Video

Mass DCR Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Accessibility to Massachusetts State Parks is achieved through site improvements, specialized adaptive recreation equipment, and accessible recreation programs. Gigi Ranno, (617) 626-1294 (Eastern Mass) or
Marcy Marchello, (413) 545-5758 (Western Mass).
Download Universal Accessible Brochure .

Outdoor Explorations, Medford provides one-day clinics and multi-day overnight trips with activities including kayaking, backpacking, sailing, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. (781) 395-4999, info@outdoorexp.org

Piers Park Sailing , Boston Harbor provides programs for disabled youth and adults aboard 23-foot sonar sailboats. Adaptive sailing program is led by 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Maureen McKinnon-Tucker.
(617) 561-6677, maureen@piersparksailing.org

Recreation Opportunities MNIP Fact Sheet lists additional recreational opportunities in Massachusetts.

Have a great summer!

Sailing For All on the Charles

wheel chair on accessible boating dock

Enjoy sailing? This week we introduce a wonderful program offering accessible sailing in Boston.

Sailing as an option this summer

Community Boating Inc. (CBI) Universal Access Program offers persons with disabilities and their guests the joy of sailing lessons or recreational sailing on the scenic Charles River. CBI provides specialized modified sailboats, adaptive support, staff assistance for transferring in and out of sailboats and sailing instruction for only $1 per person. Staff are trained to offer assistance to all people with disabilities including those with physical and intellectual challenges as well as people on the spectrum.

Reserved sessions average an hour in length and can be customized to meet individual needs. They can include sailing lessons or a short sailboat ride for therapeutic recreation.

Marcin Kunicki, Universal Access Program Director, has fourteen dedicated staff and four adaptive sailboats. Seat configurations in the boats are available for people with different needs.  The Sonar, 23’ is the largest sailboat which seats six participants.

Dock restoration and growing program

The dock has been recently restored through the Community Boating Restoration Project funded by generous donations from the Commonwealth, DCR, The Solomon Fund, Esplanade Association, Mugar Foundation and Community Boating. The restoration project will increase Community Boating’s program schedule by offering accessible sailing every day this coming summer.

Marcin reports there were over 700 reservations booked last year for the Adaptive Sailing Program. With the upgrades to the dock and its growing program, he recommends those interested make reservations early this summer.

Empowering experience

Marcin describes the experience as more than just a recreational activity.
“It is a liberating and empowering experience for everyone involved. Many have expressed that because they have tried Community Boating, it has given them confidence to do other things.”

Contact Marcin Kunicki to reserve your sailing session at (617) 523-1038.

Recreate Yourself through Recreation

Several individuals hiking some with wheel chairs

This week I am pleased to introduce guest blogger, Marcy Marchello, an Accessible Recreation Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program. This wonderful program serves people with disabilities and their families, friends and caregivers interested in accessing our state parks.Marcy Marchello sitting by a stream

Marcy finds her role

“How did I end up in such a unique role? Though I do not have a disability, I was introduced to many people with disabilities in my youth and worked as a personal care assistant as an adult. I spent quite a few hours accompanying my father while he visited a institutions and therapeutic settings to design various products, such a custom wheelchair seating, helmets, and swimming aids.

As an avid outdoors person, I have explored many pursuits from birding to skiing, and experienced the personal benefits of exercise, play, nature observation, teamwork, and outdoor exploration. When an opportunity arose to combine these experiences to improve outdoor accessibility for those with disabilities, I went for it!”

Blog offers excellent resources

Everyone Outdoors is a blog I designed to be a “go-to” resource for people with disabilities, their friends and family. It was written in conjunction with a grant project, REC Connect, seeking to assist people with disabilities in their exploration of recreation and skills progression.

Here you’ll find accessible places to visit and things to do, from a quiet nature walk to adventurous excursions such as sailing in Boston Harbor or hiking in a state park. Personal stories, program opportunities, equipment reviews and more are featured, covering a wide range of disability and recreation experiences.

I hope you’ll visit Everyone Outdoors and find useful information and new opportunities within its pages. Enjoy the blog at https://www.everyoneoutdoors.blogspot.com/.

Feedback and comments are welcome. In addition, if you’d like to submit a blog post about your own experience, feel free to contact me at marcy.marchello@state.ma.us.”

Enjoying the Accessible Outdoors

Six kayaks lined up with happy people inside

After a tough winter many of us are beginning to plan our summer vacations and outdoor activities. This month we present an overview of accessible activities in Massachusetts for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy throughout the summer.

Website presents accessible summer optionswoman in beach wheel chair looking into the sun

The Mass Department of Conservation & Recreation Universal Access Program UAP provides accessible recreational opportunities in Massachusetts’ state parks, including accessible beaches, trails and fishing locations. UAP inclusive programs include adaptive boating (kayaking, canoeing, sailing & rowing), cycling and more. Most programs require pre-registration; paddling and hiking programs include fees. All program participants must complete a liability waiver.

Come to the Accessible Recreation Fair

DCR’s annual free Accessible Recreation Fair is Saturday, June 4 at Artesani Park, 1234 Soldiers Field Road in Brighton (Boston) from 10:00AM – 3:00PM. This is a great place to learn about summer recreation programs, meet representatives from recreational organizations in the Boston area, and to try out cycles and all-terrain wheelchairs. Refreshments provided.
Call Gigi Ranno to register at (617) 626-1294.

The month ahead

In the weeks to come, you will be introduced to Marcy Marchello, an accessible recreation coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program. Marcy is a passionate outdoor enthusiast with an impressive blog, “Everyone Outdoors”. You will want to subscribe to Marcy’s blog to keep informed of all the exciting opportunities Massachusetts has to offer.

You will also learn about an accessible and very affordable sailing program on the Charles River through Marcin Kunicki, Director of the Community Boating Universal Access Sailing Program.

In our final blog of the month you will have links to a variety of accessible outdoor activities in Massachusetts including contact information to get you started on making your plans.

With all this information, we hope you get excited and make this summer a special one….be adventurous and try something new.