David C. Jones
FDOA Founder's Message: Fodder from the Founder

David C. Jones

Springtime in Florida is fabulous.  We just held our 29th annual SportsAbility event and over 1,200 people of all abilities enjoyed another perfect weather weekend.  Family, friends, volunteers, and professionals participated in the numerous recreation and leisure activities that were provided. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page. I hope that next year you, too, can plan a trip to Tallahassee to join us in early April.  
Fishing is a year-round sport here in Florida, but our residents and visitors really “get with it” in the spring and early summer.  We host a “Hands Helping Anglers” fishing event for local people with disabilities and provide an enjoyable experience with a morning boat fishing trip on the Apalachee Bay with volunteer captains.  This event has been held for over 30 years; thanks go out to our boat owners who donate their boats and time, our local Rotary clubs and other community partners like our good friends at Shields Marina in St. Marks Florida.

We will be introducing the FDOA’s new ALLOUT adventure program this summer and will highlight trips with our 2019 “Active Leisure for Life” award recipient, Bird Dog Boat Program as they embark on their journey to enhance the lives of people with disabilities with a totally accessible boat and   an inclusive adventure program that will also include the option to use all terrain mobility devices, provided by Tracked Mobility. These Sea to Shore excursions will be unique eco-nature trips at different locations around the state.

With all the seasonal activities going on this time of the year, it may be easy to forget that now is the time to plan for the fall hunting season.  Quality hunts are regulated by way of a quota application process.  Apply now to ensure your place in our highly sought-after mobility impaired hunt program, overseen by the Florida Fish and Wildlife commission.  Permits are issued to applicants in three phases with phase 1 applications due by June 15th, followed by a 2nd and 3rd phase drawing.

The mobility impaired hunt program now has more than 20 quota deer hunts offered across the State at wildlife management areas from Pensacola to West Palm Beach.  These hunts are all on public conservation and recreation lands and have guidelines to enhance the experience for the participants and their guest.  All applications are now offered online at www.gooutdoorsflorida.com.  You can get all the information needed at www.myfwc.org.  This Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission web site has lots of interesting and valuable information for hunters and anglers with disabilities.  You can learn and find needed information concerning opportunities and requirements such as:

  •     Disability license fee exemptions
  •     Disability accommodation and modification request
  •     Mobility Impairment certification application
  •     Special use vehicle permit (SUV)
  •     Alternative mobilization permit (AMP)
  •     Disability Crossbow permit
  •     Accessible Shooting and Fishing facilities
  •     Mobility impaired hunt areas and dates

These sites also contain all your regular general hunting and fishing opportunities and requirements that are available for all residents and non-residents.  
Let’s ALL get outdoors and enjoy

 Active Leisure for Life!

photo of Laurie LoRe-GussakExecutive Director's Message: Alike or Different?
Laurie LoRe-Gussak, MBA, IOM, CAE

The time is now for thinking more about what we have in common rather than our differences. The constant barrage of negative stories can be overwhelming. To be honest, I’m tired. You may ask, what does that have to do with sports and recreation?

According to the United Nations Programme on Disability,
“The unique ability of sports to transcend linguistic, cultural and social barriers makes it an excellent platform for strategies of inclusion and adaptation.  Furthermore, the universal popularity of sport and its physical, social and economic development benefits make it an ideal tool for fostering the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.”

We are more alike than different. Really think about that.

Nelson Mandela said it so succinctly,
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

Can we make an effort to put politics and stereotypes aside? Let’s play together to make a difference. Let’s get motivated to get out there. If there isn’t a sport program in your area that you like, create one. Bring people together to enjoy an hour and see where it leads. Friendships may come from unlikely places if we try.

SportsAbility Sampler at The Family Cafe 

June 7-9, 201SCUBA at The Family Cafe9

Join the fun for adaptive recreation, education sessions on all types of topics and networking. This program has become the largest disability conference in the United States! Some of the activities you may experience are:

  • Gatorland Animal Show
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Archery
  • Hoverball
Find out More

Tennis Made Accessible for ALL Abilities

Savannah Richter, Sports Management Intern

Wheelchair tennis was invented in the United States in 1976 when 18-year-old Brad Parks lost the use of his legs after a tragic accident. He discovered the rehabilitative qualities of playing tennis in his wheelchair and began to teach others the sport through training clinics. Enthusiasm for the sport took the West Coast by storm, and eventually led to global popularity.  

Wheelchair tennis has since evolved into a major competitive international sport, making its debut at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona. The game play is set up identical to tennis with standard tennis courts and the exact same rules, with one exception: a player is allowed two bounces, versus one, before they must return the ball back over the net. There are also specially-designed modifications to the wheelchair that allow optimal play and movability for the athlete. The Paralympic Games has multiple events to compete in, including singles, doubles and quads.

Wheelchair tennis is governed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities, like amputation/limb loss and spinal cord injuries. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) also hosts wheelchair tennis tournaments all over the country for players of all skill levels and abilities, with the chance to earn national rankings and represent the U.S. in international competitions.

Find a wheelchair tennis program near you by visiting www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics, and get involved in one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world!

Fun Fact: Team USA superstars, David Wagner and Nick Taylor, have medaled at every Games (many of them gold) since the quad doubles event debuted at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games!

Information for People with a Spinal Cord Injury:
English / Spanish

Information for People with a Brain Injury:
English / Spanish

Please help someone with a disability learn photo of a boy hugging a horsehow to benefit from physical activity!

You may think that small donation won't make a difference, but it truly does! Each person contributing a small amount makes an impact on someone's life forever!  Please donate whatever you can to help a person with a disability experience the benefits of the physical activities.


Text FUN to 707070 to donate!

Donations may also be mailed to:

Florida Disabled Outdoors Association
2475 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 205
Tallahassee, FL 32301

FDOA gratefully accepts tax deductible donations and in-kind gifts as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
(Federal ID# 59-3051552)