“I didn’t think I could ever do this!”
That’s the sentence that Oregon Adaptive Sports staff and volunteers love to hear, as they help people with disabilities try adaptive sports for the first time. All summer long, they’ll be getting people out biking, golfing, climbing, and kayaking – using adaptive equipment and enjoying outdoor recreation in new ways.
Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS) is a nonprofit organization based in Central Oregon. Their mission is to provide opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in outdoor recreation, and to enjoy all the benefits that come from outdoor activities: building confidence, exercising, and just having fun.
The OAS instructors are not only experts at their sport, but they also are trained to adjust the instruction and the gear for people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The adapted equipment allows everyone to play. For example, their fleet of bicycles includes tandems, recumbents, trikes, and off-road styles that make biking an accessible sport for everyone.
Get rolling at OAS Community Days
The best way to get started with OAS is to attend a Community Day. These free events provide a fun, inclusive atmosphere with a wide variety of participants. The adaptive bikes are available at the Community Day cycling events, scheduled on Wednesday afternoons throughout the summer at Pine Nursery Park (find exact dates and times at oregonadaptivesports.org.)
“Community Days are really special and fun because so many people find a new ability that exceeds their expectations,” said Kellie Standish, Marketing and Development coordinator for OAS. Many athletes have a friend or family member with them, and sometimes whole families attend so they can all go for a ride together.
People new to adaptive bikes can sign up for a Sport Assessment session. During this session, instructors help find the right style and size of bike, so the participants are ready to jump right in at the Community Cycling events. To register for the Sports Assessment, the Community Days, or other OAS events, simply create a login account online.
Transition Students and OAS
Many transition students are familiar with OAS because they’ve been involved in class field trips with the organization throughout their school years. As they move forward into independent living, OAS activities can be a valuable resource for staying active and making new friends.
“We want to be sure students know that they can continue to be part of OAS recreation on their own,” explained Standish. She emphasized that there is no fee for Community Days, and that OAS has scholarships available for other OAS events.
OAS is currently producing a film, expected to premiere this fall. This inspiring film follows the progress of a local transition student as he grows into his sport, with the support of OAS. Details about the release dates will be shared on OAS and Transition Network social media.
Learn more about OAS at oregonadaptivesports.org or stay up to date with news and events on their Facebook page.
— By Suzanne Johnson