How Recreation Can Lead to Independence, Resilience and Awareness

All Out Adventures

We're turning the spotlight on our incredible dealers this year.  Every month, we will be featuring a shop and asking them to spill the beans.  What inspired them to open their business?  What makes them unique?  We're all in this industry because we love it, and it's a nice reminder to celebrate every success.

All Out Adventures in Northampton, MAwww.alloutadventures.org

BACKGROUND

All Out Adventures is a Northampton, MA nonprofit organization that was founded in 2001.  We operate approximately 150 outdoor recreation programs each year for senior citizens with disabilities and their family and friends.  Our programs include kayaking, canoeing, cycling, camping, snowshoeing, xc skiing, and ice skating.  We are proud to work with people of all ages, from very young toddlers to adults in their 90s, and we are able to help people of all abilities access the beautiful state parks of MA and the joy of outdoor recreation.

INSPIRATION FOR AOA

The inspiration behind All Out Adventures was to complement the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program in making the state parks welcoming and accessible to people of all abilities.  Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Massachusetts had been making physical infrastructure improvements to the parks to ensure that people of all abilities could access them.  Our programs take that to the next level, by welcoming people with disabilities into the parks to take advantage of recreational opportunities.  Since our initial focus of working with the state park system, we have also expanded to serve other grant-funded interests, such as running programs specifically for people with brain injuries and senior citizens.

We became a dealer of TerraTrike recumbent trikes 3 years ago, and have since added Trident trikes and SportCrafters (trike) trainers to our line as both an earned income source and as a way to further our mission.  The income we earn from our recumbent trikes and accessories goes directly into our programs, expanding our capacity to serve people with disabilities.  In the same vein, we are experts for people with disabilities and senior citizens to consult with when they consider their purchase of a recumbent trike.  It is a definite win-win: we earn the income we need to continue our programming, and the customer gets the assistance and expertise they need to feel confident that they purchased the trike and accessories they need in order to cycle safely and comfortable for years to come.

IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY

Our programs change people’s lives.  It is incredible to be a witness to an individual doing something like paddling a kayak, pedaling a bike, staying overnight in a park cabin, that they or their family members never thought was possible.  We have seen people develop self-confidence, a renewed drive toward independence, make friendships, lose weight, and manage chronic disease through their participation in our programs.  The programs that we offer are a vehicle for all of the gains that people experience; while we may be gathering to kayak, the staff and participants all understand on a deeper level that our programs are about improving the quality of life of our participants and about changing the perception of disability in our communities.

STROKE SURVIVOR DISCOVERED INDEPENDENCE

We recently took a recumbent trike and a SportCrafters trainer to a stroke support group in Holyoke, MA.  By bringing the SportCrafters trainer with us, we allow people the opportunity to sit down and actually pedal the trike, erasing all doubts from their minds that cycling is possible.  A gentleman who had a stroke 9 years ago sat down to try it out and began pedaling independently while his wife watched with tears in her eyes.  She said that she had not seen him move his legs so much in the entire 9 years since his stroke.  Since his stroke, his only real form of leg exercise had been him lying in bed while she moved his legs for him.  A whole new world was opened to them that day, and they went home with a new reality and a new sense of possibility in their minds.

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