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

David C. Jones
It’s here. Cool weather finally. It’s time to get out and enjoy our outdoor recreation opportunities that we have available to enjoy here in Florida. Hunting season is well underway and several members of our board and other FDOA supporters and partners had the privilege to attend the twenty third annual Nutrien Mining Company Social Luncheon and weekend deer hunt at their Camp McNeil near White Springs.  This is a highly anticipated invitational event that reinforces corporate goodwill. It’s a great example of how big business can support conservation and recreation with a social giving concept. They graciously give back to the community and help people with limited opportunities overcome barriers that can prevent participation in sports and active leisure.  

We are proud that Florida was recognized by Disabled Sports U.S. as the number three in top states in the country in offering adaptive sports opportunities.  We work hard to help advocate and educate for providing accessible and inclusive recreation programs, events and destinations statewide. We have many great partners that contribute to this important cause.

The Dept. of Environmental Protection   just completed and has released the new five year State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). It identifies objectives for improving and identifying goals and objectives to guide us in planning and providing outdoor recreation for residents and visitors.  The plan includes diversity, accessibility, and inclusion objectives. It also names FDOA as a go to resource for assistance and consulting.

The Forest Service is cutting the ribbon, next week, on a new project on the Plank Road Forest and FWC Wildlife Management Area adjoining the Natural Bridge State Park in Northwest Florida. This public land is where we initiated and helped to establish another Mobility Impaired Quota hunt into the many existing offerings.

Our Bird Dog Boats partner, Thomas Griffin, has started providing accessible fishing and boating tours in the Central part of the state and has taken dozens of groups of people with disabilities along with their family and friends on outdoor adventure trips. This exciting program is our kick start to our FDOA ALLOUT Adventure program that we are getting underway. We were just awarded a grant through Disabled Sports U.S. to take veterans and their families on boating and fishing trips.

We participated in the Visit Florida strategic planning workshop in Panama City and provided input to support and reinforce the need for Accessible Tourism to be recognized as a major need and benefit to travelers in our state.  We certainly need to keep and adequately fund VF, our tourism promotion organization partnership. We will participate in a training for rural adventure trip providers in Steinhatchee this month, yet another great program offered by VF this month.

We will be presenting at the annual National Watchable Wildlife Conference that Florida Fish and Wildlife is hosting in Fort Walton Beach in February. We are also participating in the Turtle Watch Conference   as a member of Wildlife Alert, a co-host of the event.

The Big Kahuna Champion this year is the Bradfordville Kiwanis Club who took the honors from the Northside Club, last year’s winners. Congratulations! We appreciate all of the Kiwanis clubs that participated in this fun, big canoe race fundraiser on beautiful Lake Hall in Tallahassee. Your group or business is invited to participate next September in this annual event. And another thank you to Kiwanis for their dependable support of the Miracle Sports Program that starts back up in January. Active Leisure for Life!

Photo of Laurie LoRe-GussakExecutive Director's Message: Making the Holidays Special
Laurie LoRe-Gussak, MBA, IOM, CAE

The holiday season is upon us and we all want to make it meaningful and special for those we love. I recall a conversation with Ann OBrine Satterfield who taught many to sit water-ski before she passed away. She told me that when she finally received a doll that used a wheelchair, she felt such joy at seeing a doll that looked like she did. She said it made her feel like a typical kid. Currently, we have many options that depict children and adults of all abilities. The diversity in our world makes it beautiful. Savannah Richter, our intern, helped to gather the following list of a few of the items that are available.

  •  “Book El Deafo” by Cece Bell -  Who doesn’t want to be a superhero? This graphic novel turns author Cece Bell’s journey as a youngster navigating school with a hearing loss and phonic ear device into a great adventure. The colorful book is listed as appropriate for middle readers. “Book El Deafo” by Cece Bell for $9.86 on Amazon.
  • “Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe” by Julia Maniér and Grant Maniér - “‘Grant the [Jigsaw] Giraffe’ is a new book co-authored and illustrated by an autistic guy,” said Mighty community member Ashley Stillwell-Hasan. Working with writer Julia Maniér, Grant Maniér, who lives with autism, illustrated the book, which features the can-do attitude of Grant the giraffe. The book’s font is also dyslexia-friendly. “Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe” by Julia Maniér and Grant Maniér for $16.95 on Amazon.
  • “Meet ClaraBelle Blue” by Adiba Nelson -  Mighty community member Jodie Agnew-Navarro suggested “Meet ClaraBelle Blue,” which was written by Adiba Nelson, whose daughter lives with cerebral palsy. Nelson is committed to inclusion and representation in media, which is why she self-published the book. Buy “Meet ClaraBelle Blue” by Adiba Nelson for $5.99 from the ClaraBelle Blue website.
  • Meet Sydney Satalino, the 13-year-old creator of Special Dolls: “I have had Asperger’s syndrome since I was 1 [year old] and have always loved dolls,” Satalino said. “Special Dolls is a brand new line of 18-inch dolls. But these aren’t ordinary 18 inch dolls — they’re special! Every doll has a different special need [and has] their own personality, likes, dislikes, friends and dreams.” Preorder the first Special Doll, Elliana, who has a limb difference, for $89 on the Special Dolls website. Orders are expected to ship early December.
  • My First Workout® program is for kids of all abilities ages 5-10 and comes in a kit with 8 pieces of exercise equipment that are kid size and age appropriate to complete a child's very own home gym. A "how-to" video of program 1 with Certified Personal Trainer of 20+ years, Michelle Miller, and children properly demonstrating each exercise is also included to help parents confidently teach the exercises to their children. See options at myfirstworkout.com.

  • Lime Tree Kids Baby Doll with Down Syndrome - These beautiful dolls represent children with Down syndrome and with their moveable arms and legs and soft skin, they’re fun to play with. The dolls are available with blonde or brunette hair and male or female-presenting gender and they ship from Australia. Baby doll with Down syndrome for AUD $89.95 on the Lime Tree Kids website.
  • Vermont Teddy Bears with a DisabilityVermont Teddy Bear Limb Loss & Limb Difference Bears -  As part of their Bears That Care line — which also includes caregiver and breast cancer awareness bears — Vermont Teddy Bear has brought a little more inclusion to their stuffed animals with its limb loss and difference bears. Customize your bear using eight arm and leg difference options. You can also add on an optional crutch. Customized limb difference bear for $59.99 on the Vermont Teddy Bear website.
  • Lottie Doll Wildlife Photographer Mia -  Lottie Doll Mia uses a cochlear implant because she has a hearing impairment. Plus, she’s a hip photographer. Like its other dolls, Lottie says Mia was inspired by real kids. At seven inches tall, Mia is the perfect size for playtime anywhere. Lottie Doll Mia for £21.99 from Amazon UK.
  • A Doll Like Me -  All hand-made by Amy, a former social worker, dolls made by A Doll Like Me mirror their owners, whether the child lives with a limb difference, scars or other conditions. A price isn’t listed on A Doll Like Me’s Facebook page, and because it’s a highly customized process, receiving your doll can take awhile. More info on ordering A Doll Like Me by messaging Amy through A Doll Like Me’s Facebook page.
  • Orchard Toys Puzzles -  Orchard Toys has made an effort in include people with disabilities in the scenes featured on some of their puzzles. The company’s Giant Road jigsaw includes a young man in a wheelchair while its Woodland Party jigsaw puzzle incorporates a young woman in a wheelchair. Orchard Toys’ Giant Road jigsaw for $23.10 on Amazon and the Woodland Party jigsaw for £7.26 on Amazon UK.

Lego Sets -  It took Lego a long time to Lego man that uses a wheelchairinclude wheelchair users in its building sets. Though people with disabilities are still underrepresented among its characters, Lego’s Fun in the Park – City People Pack and City Town Bus Station sets include people who use wheelchairs. Lego’s City People pack for $48.63 on Amazon and buy Lego’s City Town Bus Station set for $36.49 on Amazon.

  • American Girl Doll Accessories -  The American Girl company made its name trying to represent generations of young women. They haven’t created an out-of-the-box doll yet who has a disability, but it’s created several accessories to modify its American Girls dolls to have different abilities and conditions, including wheelchairs, arm crutches and a diabetes care kit. Diabetes care kit for $24, arm crutches for $14 and the wheelchair for $38 on the American Girl website.
  • A Step Ahead American Girl Doll Prosthetics -  For children with limb differences who use a prosthetic, A Step Ahead can ensure their American Girl doll matches by creating a custom doll prosthetic. The company, which creates human-size prosthetics as well, doesn’t charge to develop doll prosthetics as it sees its work as “strengthening [a child’s] foundation and self-confidence during their early developmental years.” You can apply to have a customized prosthetic made for an American Girl doll by filling out the application on A Step Ahead’s website.
  • MakieLab Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants -  MakieLab, a 3D printing company, can print up either hearing aids or cochlear implants that you can add to almost any doll or plush figure. ToyLikeMe has an example — outfit an off-the-shelf Peter Pan doll with a MakieLab hearing aid for a more inclusive stuffed toy. Hearing aid add-on for $4 and the Cochlear implant add-on for $5 from ShapeWays.com.

Barbie Fashionistas Dolls -  These dolls features Barbie’s in wheelchairs and with prostheBarbie with a Disabilitytic limbs to be more relatable to children and help them find a doll that looks like them. These dolls can be purchased in many places, including Barbie.com for $19.99


  • Sensory Soccer Ball -  Physical Education and APE (Adapted Physical Education) teachers, therapists, and youth coaches now have two new ways to promote the development of soccer skills for children with unique learning characteristics including the general education population. This Sensory Soccer ball has 10 ounces of steel bearings allowing the ball to remain in play, giving students opportunity for repetitive trials. The sound and weight of the ball are excellent for students with vision impairment and those on the autism spectrum. Flag House for $35.
  •  Franklin MLB 2-in-1 Grow-with-Me Batting Tee -  This batting tee can be adjusted to the child’s needs and can continue to change as their needs change. Academy Sports for $39.99. 
We are not promoting any item. We just wanted to let you know some of the items available. We hope that you have a beautiful holiday!!

Photo of Kevin TaylorMeet Kevin Taylor, the newest member of the FDOA Team!!

Kevin is a digital marketing specialist with a diverse background. His experience includes being a military veteran, a graduate of Tallahassee Community College with a degree in Drafting and Design, an ordained inter-faith minister, and a small business owner.

At work, he helps manage the FDOA social media accounts and website, creates videos and graphic designs for online and print marketing, oversees our interns, and assists with some behind-the-scenes coordination for some of our events (like Miracle Sports and SportsAbility).

In his spare time, Kevin enjoys craft coffee shops, trying new foods, camping, and studying and discussing metaphysical ideas about life. He is originally from eastern North Carolina but has lived in Tallahassee since 2005 with his girlfriend, Sarah, with their two "fur babies" (a lab and a border collie).

Mark Your Calendar!

Register today for Miracle Sports!
Messer Park, Field 3 - 1158 Dupree Street , Tallahassee, FL 32304 (closest to the skate park)
The upcoming season is kickball which will begin January 23 and run through April 2. Kids play from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and adults from 7:00-8:00 p.m. every Thursday at Miracle Field. Register today!

Pickleball for People of ALL Abilities

Kevin Taylor, Member Service Specialist

Pickleball is a relatively new game, created by a family in 1965 near Seattle, WA with accessibility at the core of its creation. Due to its inclusive nature, its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. 

According to the "official history" on pickleball.com, "When Congressmen Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum came home from a game of golf one day to find their kids bored and restless, they set out to create a game that would engage them through the lazy days of summer. They wanted to create a game that would be challenging, but still accessible."

It is kind of like life-sized table tennis. Players use paddles (like in ping pong, but larger), a wiffle ball and a tennis net. By using a wiffle ball (which doesn't move as fast or bounce as much as a tennis ball) and a small badminton court (20' x 44') the game is more accessible for those with mobility issues.

"In addition to the modified net and gear, there are several key rules in Pickle-ball® that help make the game more accessible. In tennis, and many net sports, games are often won and lost by the power of the serve. In Pickle-ball®, the ball must bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed. This opens the game to more players and extends play for added fun." (via pickleball.com)

Like other net sports, only the serving team may score points. However, the serving rules are a little different than other net sports. The first team to score 11 points wins, but you must win by 2 points. As with any sport when played for fun, you can always adjust the scoring and rules to meet your needs to make it more enjoyable for everyone. 

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.
Donate on FDOA Website
Donate through Facebook

Donations may also be mailed to:
Florida Disabled Outdoors Association

3035 Eliza Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308

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