Executive Director's Message

Each year we make progress in accessibility and recreation assistive technology, but the thing that almost everyone still struggles with is MOTIVATION. This morning I struggled to find the motivation to get on the treadmill to jog a couple miles. I knew I feel so much better once I got started, but getting started was the problem. What finally got me going was thinking, “OK, I do want to be able to keep up with my five year old that already can bike 10 miles.”

Here are some of the things that motivate me:

  • Finding someone to exercise with me
  • Setting a goal and telling other people makes me feel accountable. (This newsletter goes out to over 15,000 people, so I guess I am accountable to you!)
  • Picturing my grandmother that never exercised and was very overweight and consequently had numerous health issues associated. I know this can run in my family and don’t want to experience the high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. that comes along with inactivity.
  • Being able to fit into my clothes, since a whole new wardrobe is not an option
  • Thinking about an upcoming event that I will be attending
  • Developing a routine
  • Tracking my exercise to feel a sense of accomplishment
  • I have an app on my phone that detects your motion and then shows scenery from a location you choose as you exercise. My favorite is feeling like I am jogging in Italy.
  • #1 way to motivate me is to think of my beautiful son for whom I want to be around for a very long time.

If you have ways that work for you, please post them on FDOA's Facebook page. You will be helping me and other people get and stay motivated!!

President's Message - June is National Outdoor Recreation Month

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released the current Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).  It contains very relevant and timely information for the FDOA.  Florida statutes declares that DEP conduct research and create a renewed five year strategic plan for outdoor recreation demand and supply, and  also to propose means for meeting identified needs.  The plan is intended to fulfill Federal requirements for program funding to enhance recreational opportunities.  The statutes grant DEP specific responsibility to develop and execute this multi -purpose recreation plan.

Outdoor recreation is a very important component of our tourist oriented economy.  It is a vital link to conservation efforts and to the management of our natural resources.  Research confirms that the health and well -being of Florida’s residents is directly related to opportunities, and participation in effectively implemented outdoor recreation programs.
 Recent SCORP research proved that salt water beach activities remain the top activity that residents participate in.  Wildlife viewing, fishing, biking, and picnicking, follow in reported participation. Our tourists also participated in saltwater beach activities most frequently, followed by wildlife viewing, and picnicking.  

Our residents report the top reasons for participation are for health and fitness benefits.  The top reason tourists participate is for relaxation, fun, and enjoyment.  Both user groups report the second most reason is to spend time with family and friends.  These findings justify the very important mission of the FDOA.  Active life styles and time spent outdoors are major contributors to a person’s health and overall quality of life.  The connection between good health and physical activity is well recognized.  The alarming rise in obesity rates is a call for awareness and to increase efforts to motivate people to become more active.  I have shared research that shows that people with disabilities have greater risk for obesity and chronic disease and are less active than the general population.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is calling for attention to this serious issue of concern.  The FDOA has been working on these issues for almost 25 years now.  

SCORP goal 2-2 and strategies of SCORP recommendations call for recreation providers to partner with health care providers to promote healthy lifestyles and community programs.  It calls for DEP to assist the Dept. of Health (DOH) to implement recreation based objectives into the State recreation plan.  It also calls for DOH to determine ways to incorporate outdoor recreation into their health plans.  It also calls for state agencies to work with Visit Florida to provide a data source for public information about accessibility and opportunities.  Accessibility and inclusion in recreation still remains an issue today even 25 years after the ADA.  Along with removing physical barriers, the ADA also requires all reasonable efforts to ensure that facilities, programs, and services are accessible and inclusive.

SCORP goal 2-3 declares, all recreation providers should seek to increase accessibility. The distribution of information is very important in providing universal accessibility. One strategy says State land managers should partner with organizations like (names specifically) the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association to establish specific programs for our visitors with disabilities throughout the State.  Another strategy states that recreation providers should develop and strengthen relationships with organizations like the Agency for People with Disabilities (APD) and the FDOA, to educate themselves and the public, and to provide activities and programs for people of all ages and abilities.  Agencies should ensure that accessibility information can be easily obtained and should establish outreach programs to encourage participation.  The FDOA has been working on accessible inclusive recreation and health promotion for people with disabilities for years and have well established relationships with DEP, DOH, and APD.  We have begun to implement these strategic plan objectives with our SportsAbility and other FDOA programs.  We’ve have recently partnered with all three of these agencies to produce the very successful recent Fanning Springs Disability Expo and SportsAbility Sampler near Chiefland.

Recreation Assistive Technology - Shin Fins™

Shinfin™ leg fins strap to your legs, so your feet are free to move naturally in the water. They were  designed for a natural streamlined kick like good swimmers’ freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. They encourage kicking from your hips with only a little knee-bend. The inventor says that if you don’t already do a streamlined kick, they will teach you. The Shin Fin assists people with many different disabilities including: people with motor control problems, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, neuropathy, stroke complications, below-knee amputees, above-knee amputees, bilateral amputees etc. Helps people to swim, building muscle tone, regain movement control, rehabilitation, etc. More

Information for People with a Brain or a Spinal Cord Injury

People with a brain or spinal cord injuries often face many physical, emotional, and social challenges. These challenges can be addressed through appropriate programs in sports, recreation, and leisure activities. Florida Disabled Outdoors Association (FDOA) and the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program (BSCIP) are collaborating to provide community-based resources for accessible inclusive recreation.

More information for People with a Spinal Cord Injury:
English / Spanish

More information for People with a Brain Injury:
English / Spanish

SportsAbility Dates, Maps and more

Help Support FDOA Programs - Donate Now

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