Tag: outdoor accessible activities

Recreation Programs for People with Disabilities in Massachusetts

bike riders
As the parent of a young man with special needs, I know how important it is for people with disabilities to be able to learn and take part in sporting and recreational activities with family and friends.  These activities help people be healthy and happy; and form social connections.  Massachusetts has a wide variety of adaptive sport and recreational programs.  Some are free and some charge a fee.  Most programs that charge a fee offer scholarships.  Here is a sample of the many programs that are offered to people with disabilities and their families. Now find a program that you enjoy, get out there, and have fun!


Horseback Riding

Variety of Summer and Winter Activities


Here are two additional websites that list programs in
Massachusetts and all over the United States
Sped Child and Teen
MNIP Fact Sheet Recreation Opportunities For People With Disabilities

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!

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.”