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Okanagan non-profit helps people with disabilities explore the outdoors

Kelowna Capital News - 8/3/2019

An Okanagan non-profit group is making it easier for people with physical and mental disabilities to explore the outdoors.

Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS) Adaptive Adventures is an organization that has been running for eight years that gives people with special needs the opportunity to hike, kayak, bike and otherwise get them outside, touring Okanagan parks and trails.

CRIS is fuelled by dedicated volunteers helping in adaptive recreation and programs tailored to the needs of participants—from the beginner explorer to the seasoned wilderness enthusiast.

"We need volunteers who will push and pull trail riders, pilot bike rides, lead kayaking tours, but we also have our board of directors that is all volunteers and we are always looking to add to the team," CRIS executive director Dawn Widdifield said.

It is an initiative that is appreciated by other organizations that assist people with disabilities.

"CRIS helps out with our society called Lifestyle Equity Society and their organization binds with ours and we come together for hikes and adventures, it's a great way to give people a better life and a sense of purpose while giving us that sense of purpose to help them," care worker Melissa Huisman said.

In the winter months, the group runs cross-country skiing trips and snowshoeing excursions.

There is a small fee to participate, ranging from $10 to $35 per excursion, but Widdifield said they don't want cost to create a barrier for people wanting to get involved, so Adaptive Adventures does it's best to include anyone that's interested in the adventures.

The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with the tours, or around the office. Anyone who is interested in applying to be a volunteer can fill out an application of the Adaptive Adventures website.

 
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