Executive Director's Message - Like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, "I love Technology!"

photo of Laurie LoRe-GussakI went to see Steve Wozniak, one the founders of Apple Computers, speak this week. It got me thinking about how technology has had a huge impact on sports and recreation for people with disabilities. I recall several years back FDOA member, Henry Flores saying, “When I had my injury over 20 years ago, people assumed that I would play wheelchair basketball. Now I can play just about any sport I can imagine.” As our technology improves, so does our ability to conquer our dreams.

The slogan for Disabled Sports USA is “If I can do this, I can do anything!” To me this says it all. When we get out and meet people and have fun doing something active that we enjoy, this carries over to every aspect of our lives: work, community involvement and simply feeling happier when we are with our friends and family.

What gets you feeling like you can do anything?
Assistive technology may empower someone to rock climb, water-ski, fish, bike. If you don’t know where to start, please don’t forget that FDOA has an online database of accessible inclusive products, programs, events and destinations.

If it’s financial resources stopping you, this list of potential grant funders for participating in sports and recreation may help:

In the words of Stephen Hawking, "It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven't done badly. People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining." Don’t wait till New Year’s Eve for that resolution, start now! Active Leisure for Life!!

 President's Message - Change is in the Air

 The recent taste of fresh, cool weather is a reminder that change is in the air.  Certainly, as our hot summer becomes a cooler fall, we know that the cold of winter is coming soon here in north Florida.  Seasons change.  Change is a constant and with change comes opportunity.  Another certain change will come with the recent passing of amendment 1.  This new law will ensure funding for the preservation of environmentally sensitive lands and water.  This popular amendment will provide a dedicated source of funding to acquire and manage lands that are vital to our future.  Protection of these lands will require much more than only a purchase.

One of the most important concepts of the law is that it provides funding for management purposes.  Our state parks, wildlife management areas, and our water district management areas are in desperate need of funding to properly conserve the resources while providing access to our citizens who pay for these valuable assets. Access to our new and existing natural areas for recreation and active leisure pursuits is a major concern for our State plan managers, our citizens, and for the FDOA. These natural green space areas must be thoughtfully planned and managed to provide a conservation and recreation balance.  This new law will provide a rare opportunity to allocate funding for the purpose of access and inclusion to recreation.  The benefits are numerous and allude to very important issues like health benefits and economic benefits while reaping the very important conservation benefits. 

 The FDOA will be working with our leadership to ensure that adequate funding is allocated to provide access and inclusion for all of our people.  We must promote the wise use of these natural resource areas for our state to enjoy better health behaviors and to benefit from the tremendous economic stimulus that eco-tourism and the jobs that are created by the millions of visitors that we attract to enjoy our real natural Florida and the accessible inclusive recreation that we provide.

photo of David JonesDavid Jones received coveted John O’Meara Award for Excellence
at Florida Outdoor Recreation Summit

David Jones was recognized for his continued work in getting people with disabilities involved in outdoor recreational activities.  David Jones founded the Florida Outdoor Disabilities Association in 1990 after becoming partially paralyzed from a hunting accident. The John O’Meara award is given each year at the annual Florida Outdoor Recreation Summit to an individual that has demonstrated excellence in providing outdoor recreation services to the public. John O’Meara, for who the award was named, worked as the state land supervisor for the Florida Forest Service and was known for his innovative thinking, attention to detail and a deep understanding and commitment to public service. 

The Florida Outdoor Recreation Coalition is the brainchild of John Waldron, who has spent over 37 years in the outdoor recreation field in Florida. It is through these experiences that the concept for FLORC was developed. FLORC is dedicated to "Giving A Voice to the Outdoor Recreation Enthusiast in Florida" by locating, organizing and representing the large amount of outdoor recreation users in Florida!

Have YOU Decided to Become Motivated Yet? Information for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

Learning to live again after a spinal cord injury isn’t easy. Motivation is the desire to do things and can be the key to your future. Here are some pitfalls that can hinder motivation:

  • Avoid surrounding yourself with “Yes Men”. These are the people who always tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily what you need to hear. They are the people who are quick to bring you something, quick to agree that you can’t do something, and quick do things for you.
  • Recognize that you can always come up with excuses. It’s raining, it’s too cold/hot, it’s too hard, it’s _______ (fill in the blank) are just a few excuses that will prevent you from becoming more (more independent, more healthy, and more happy.)
  • You have heard the expression, “Same old, same old.” We are all creatures of habit. That is why it can be difficult to quit smoking even though we know it is detrimental to our health. It is a habit. Brushing your teeth in the morning is a habit. Consider your habits. Are they helping you? Are they the habits that benefit you? Are they habits you are proud of? Experts say a habit can be broken or established in as little as 21 days. Be committed to good habits.
  • Fear can be as paralyzing as any injury. Sometimes we don’t even know exactly what we are afraid of.  Fear of failure causes many people to not even try. Fearless people succeed because they think, speak and act differently.
Steps you can take:
  • Find a mentor/accountability partner or a support group. Someone who won’t accept flimsy excuses. Someone you trust and respect. Someone that you will listen to and who will encourage you to push yourself to your limit.
  • Recognize when you make an excuse. One way to know it is an excuse is if you have a million more excuses ready.  
  • Make a plan. Envision your plan. Then commit to that plan. Don’t let anything stop you. You really know when someone is committed to something when things come up that would stop most people, but they don’t let it stop them. Be that person!
  • Be willing to look silly or stupid if that is what it takes. For truly incredible things to happen, it often takes struggle. Embrace struggle.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. We learn from our failures. Train yourself to be more afraid of not trying.

You alone have control over your decisions. Choose the hard right over the easy wrong. Be determined. Be different. Be brave. Most importantly, be motivated to become the best you can be.

More information for People with a Spinal Cord Injury:

English / Spanish

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

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How do I fund the vehicle I need?

One of the first thoughts anyone has when considering purchasing a vehicle is, can I afford this?  For a person with a disability, the question can be even more daunting, can I afford a vehicle AND the modifications I need to be able to drive it? FDOA partner, Advance Driving Systems, Inc. has information that can help! More



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