LivAbility Magazine
PHOTOS: On the left, red rock mountains rise in the background against a bright blue sky. In the middle ground is a river. In the foreground are 6 blue inflatable river rafts being loaded with camping gear by a group of people of mixed ages, gender and ethnicity. One raft holds an empty wheelchair. On the right, a bearded man wearing a long sleeved red shirt and grey bicycle helmet is cranking a handcycle.

Check Out Arizona’s Amazing Adaptive Recreation

By Kasey Kaler
Photos by Loren Worthington and courtesy of Daring Adventures

Sports provide a distraction from real life. Simply put, they inspire us, reach the depths of our emotions and let us believe in the impossible.
For people with disabilities, sports and outdoor recreation can sometimes be inaccessible. But two local organizations, Arizona Disabled Sports (AzDS) and Daring Adventures, are changing that.

AzDS provides adaptive and all-inclusive sports and recreation programs to individuals with disabilities. Based in Mesa, Arizona, AzDS works in conjunction with Mesa Public Schools and the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation, and Commercial Facilities.

Daring Adventures is a nonprofit based in Phoenix, Arizona. They work to provide outdoor adaptive recreation programs for youth and adults living with disabilities.

As a 24-year-old user of a power wheelchair, I must admit, I’ve never been connected or even in tune to the community of my disabled peers. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of the astounding things these two organizations offer to people of all ages living with physical or developmental disabilities.

Whatever sport or outdoor activity you’re interested in, these programs are working to make them accessible.

“These activities can open up this whole other side of you that you may think didn’t exist or you wouldn’t allow yourself to believe possible,” said Brenna Bean, Program Coordinator at Daring Adventures. “It’s why we do what we do, it’s why we’re always looking to provide the best experiences we can; because they’re life-changing.”

A diver jumping into the water.

Both organizations offer a variety of options ranging from wheelchair basketball, bowling and archery (AzDS) to hiking, sled ice hockey (Daring Adventures) and a whole lot more.

And if you’re looking for that life-altering trip, these organizations have you covered.

Daring Adventures offers Mainstream Expedition, an 11-day river rafting trip for adults with physical or developmental disabilities. The 226-mile journey, from July 31 to Aug. 10, 2017, is fully guided as participants get to experience the wilderness through the beautiful Grand Canyon while rafting down the Colorado River.

If river rafting isn’t for you, how about joining AzDS for their annual SkiAble Adaptive Alpine Experience? SkiAble is a multi-day event that provides skiing instruction for all levels and opportunity for those with physical disabilities SkiAble will be in Flagstaff, Arizona, Feb. 12-14, 2017. Spots are offered to anyone in half-day or full-day sessions.

So get out there. Your adventure or life-changing experience is waiting.

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Kasey Kaler

Kasey Kaler

@Kasey Kaler

Kasey Kaler is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Kasey has spent four years in public relations internships for various Arizona sports organizations while also remaining true to her passion for producing content, writing, and editing for a multitude of platforms. In 2015, Kasey began pursuing a Master of Arts in Sports Administration at Gonzaga University.