Fodder from the Founder - August 2020

It’s a Thirty-year anniversary celebration!  The Americans with Disabilities Act created the law, but it’s been people who have changed the World.  The passing of the ADA in 1990, provided the legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.  That opened the doors for people who care, to push for establishing the specific laws, codes, regulations, and guidelines that we follow to help enable equal access and inclusion into Society.

This civil rights law has created “opportunities to participate” and have changed the lives of everyone.  The Florida Disabled Outdoors Association is also celebrating our 30 years of caring and change through our advocacy and action.  

These are strange times, as we continue with our work in the endless pursuit of our mission.  Our FDOA team has done a great job of adjusting and adapting to a new world of conflicts and barriers, as we promote the health and well-being of all through recreation and active leisure living.  We have gone virtual with all of our programming since March, when the pandemic drastically changed our programs, plans, and our thinking.  The needs and benefits of an active lifestyle have become more even more evident now.  However, the opportunities to participate are way, way down, and the risks are much greater.  What do you do?!

We are working to find and create solutions to share, promote, and provide through our adaptive programming.  We have learned a lot as we progressed through our two major SportsAbility events and our adapted Summer Miracle Sports Tennis program.  You will hear more about our plans for the fall program that will also be totally virtual.  

We continue with our partners to collaborate in our efforts.  We are a long time chapter of “Move United”, which is the largest adaptive sports organization in the country and probably in the World.  Through their #adapt at home program, we have contributed to and benefited from best practices from many other like-minded organizations.  

Another partner that we have collaborated with is Florida International University (FIU) Therapeutic Recreation Department.  This summer, we worked with a class of graduating therapeutic Recreation students to provide internships with the FDOA.  We will be utilizing much of their work in research and creation of virtual content that we will use in our programs.  We also benefited from our own very talented Florida State University Sport Management Interns who helped us move into this new virtual online World.

We are currently working to create plans for when the time and circumstances are conducive, to get back to some form of physical sport activities in a safe, enjoyable and even more adapted format.  Follow us online to explore and discover interesting and exciting content and activities that we will be posting on our social media platforms.

Speaking of exploring, the hottest and fastest growing segment of recreation and interest is in the outdoors.  Outdoor recreation and nature based excursions like trail walks, camping, boating, fishing, and hunting are now the fastest in growth and are the activities of choice by many.  The FDOA was initially created to help people have access and enjoyment of outdoor nature based recreation 30 years ago.  We are now coming full circle back to that goal as a renewed objective and as a priority for us.  We are looking to recruit, retain, and reactivate participants of all abilities into outdoor recreation activities.

One of our first major accomplishments as the ADA was being rolled out was with our help in starting the very successful St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (SMNWR) Mobility impaired (MI) hunt program.  It was the first refuge program of its kind in the country.  It became the bases for our highly recognized statewide MI hunt program under the leadership and direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There are still a few permits available for this year’s hunt that will take place in December.  For more on this, read the article from David Moody of the SMNWR.

Your support can help the FDOA continue in creating the ways and means to help others enhance their lives through accessible, inclusive recreation and active leisure.  I have been blessed to be able to dedicate the past 30 years to our efforts.  If you can, please match that with a $30 donation to this important and meaningful cause.
Active Leisure for Life!

David C. Jones
Written by David Jones (Founder of FDOA)

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