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Leadership Spotlight: Bill Redmon

Bill Redmon currently serves as a board member for the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association. He is a retired Camp Director, a team-building consultant, and owner of Wild Creek Adventures. Bill is also an advocate of the Removing Barriers Initiative and got involved with FDOA at an adaptive kayaking seminar that opened the conversation for his future involvement. He has been a crucial part of organizing multiple events at FDOA, but his favorite so far has to be the SportsAbility Sampler at the Family Café.

For Bill Inclusion Means...

"Being aware of each person as a person and intentionally including them in the joys of life"Image of Bill Redmon

Besides FDOA, Bill is the founder of StirringWaters, which he created based on his vision of providing a safe place where no one felt left out sitting on the deck, but everyone would be able to get into the fun. StirringWaters is a waterpark for people with disabilities. He wants to provide a safe space that is fully and intentionally inclusive for all types of disabilities.

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Remote Work as the Pathway to Inclusivity

Following the coronavirus crisis, the workplace has changed for just about everyone. Logging onto Zoom meetings has become the regular substitute for arriving at the office and being greeted by coworkers in person. While most people are experiencing the transition to remote work, one company, in particular, has been very familiar with virtual office space for years. The company has built a model to encourage inclusivity for years, dating back to before the pandemic. It has no intention of going back into the office anytime soon.

In 2013, two roommates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded Ultranauts; a start-up focused on software and data engineering. Since its founding, Ultranauts has served as a model for inclusivity. The kicker here is that Ultranauts has been a remote-based company from the very beginning. There are many examples that Ultranauts demonstrates in the path to more inclusive leadership.

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US Disability Soccer Network

If you love the beautiful game and want to exercise more, playing soccer is something you should consider. The US Soccer Disability Committee created a network to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play soccer. On their website, usdisabilitysoccernetwork.com, you'll find different organizations providing services, training, and competitions. These are some of the many categories of disability soccer that athletes can take part in at all different levels and ages:

Blind Soccer

Blind soccer, also known as football-5-a-side, is an official sport in the Paralympic Games. The rules of the traditional game have been modified and adapted for athletes with visual impairments. There are five players on each team, and the match is played on a solid surface. There is no offside rule, and players have to wear blindfolds. The ball contains small bells, helping players locate it based on its noise when it travels. Finally, the goalkeepers are usually sighted but are confined to the goal area. 

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Nutrition, Exercise, and Mental Health During COVID-19

Dr. Vicari Erwin-Wilson, who has her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Florida, is a board-certified family physician in Tallahassee, Florida. Throughout her career, Dr. Erwin-Wilson has been encouraging patients to take care of their bodies, both physically and mentally. However, this has become even more important over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, Dr. Erwin-Wilson gives advice on how to stay physically and mentally healthy during this unprecedented time.

Photo of Dr. Erwin-Wilson“Be sure to do something you enjoy, because smiling and feeling happy has been proven to improve the immune response and overall well-being.”

One important aspect of staying healthy is through adequate nutrition. With a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, Dr. Erwin-Wilson is passionate about eating a proper diet and encouraging others to do so. One of her favorite healthy meals to cook is salmon with broccoli and brown rice. Dr. Erwin-Wilson believes food can greatly impact a person’s health. To help boost the immune system, she recommends getting adequate protein (from things such as lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, and beans) and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. The dark green, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables have specific chemicals called phytonutrients that pump up the immune system.  One way she suggests getting a balanced diet is by having “a good variety by eating a rainbow of colors.”

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Leadership Spotlight: Jeff Douglas

In 1991 while Jeffery (Jeff) Douglas was working at the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) at Florida State University, FDOA founder David Jones reached out to him in hopes of getting students with disabilities involved in recreation. Jeff has been participating and volunteering with FDOA ever since. Throughout the years, Jeff’s favorite FDOA event has been SportsAbility. He served as an advisory board member since August 2003 and joined the board of directors as the Director at Large in November 2020.

Photo of Jeff Douglas
Jeff's Idea of the perfect world

“Where there is a true concern for peace, patience, respect for each other without judging, and love.”

 

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The Importance of Promoting the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Sports and Tips to Implement it at Home

An important part of childhood is participating in sports. Most of us grew up playing baseball, basketball or soccer with our friend from their neighborhood. Physical activity provides many benefits for children, including those with disabilities. According to the Institute on Disability/UCED, approximately 7% of the US population accounts for children with disability. However, there is a lack of opportunities for their participation in recreational sports and physical activities. In recent years, many efforts have been made from different international organizations to try to close this gap and create more opportunities. Despite these efforts, an increasing number of children with disabilities have reported low levels of cardiorespiratory strength, less muscular endurance, and higher rates of obesity than typical children.

Benefits of sport participation

The main reason to participate in sports is to increase physical activity to help reverse impaired mobility, optimize physical functioning, and increase overall well-being. Playing sports plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of normal muscle strength, flexibility and a better joint structure and function. Good levels of muscular strength and endurance help increase bone mass, reduce injuries from falls, and provide a greater ability to complete daily activities.
By participating in sports children can leave behind a sedentary lifestyle that leads to obesity and other health complications. Sports participation also enhances the psychological well-being of children with disabilities; it provides opportunities to make friends, be creative, develop self-identity and live a more meaningful life. For example, Special Olympics athletes show better self-esteem, physical competence, and peer acceptance when compared with non-participants. Finally, participation in regular physical activity can foster independence, coping abilities, competitiveness, and teamwork among children with disabilities.

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Leadership Spotlight: Bliss Wilson

Bliss Wilson currently serves as the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association board secretary. Bliss graduated in 2019 from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology. Since becoming a part of the team in 2015, Bliss has provided crucial support with all FDOA programs and devoted her time as a volunteer for Miracle Sports and SportsAbility.

Photo of Bliss Wilson
Inclusion means...

"To me, inclusion is when each person feels welcomed and accepted."

After participating in Youth Leadership Tallahassee in 2015, Bliss’s journey with FDOA began as she was placed on the board. Having volunteered with organizations that served people with disabilities, Bliss felt that “the FDOA board was the perfect fit” for her and her interests. She started as a junior board member, and has worked her way up to becoming secretary. Also, Bliss began volunteering at multiple events organized by FDOA and found joy in providing sports opportunities for all.

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