Photo from www.RollcallWheelchairDance.com
The Hudson Valley has always offered a plethora of choices for activity-minded individuals. Between hiking in Bear Mountain State Park, sailing on the Hudson, fishing, playing golf, skiing and more, it’s a difficult place for sports-minded persons to get bored. The surprising truth is that the same opportunities are available for the physically-challenged as well!
Consider these diverse offerings:
Rockland River Association (RRA) Rowing
While rowing is an intense, demanding physical activity and competitive sport, it is also a very low-impact sport that is suitable for athletes of all agents and abilities. The RRA has an adaptive rowing program and they are happy to grow the program to meet any demand for recreation or competition. They will be offering a Learn-to-Row Day on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10am at Rockland Lake (Parking Lot #6) in Valley Cottage. For more information, check out their website at www.riverrowing.org or email email@example.com.
The Helen Hayes Hospital and Nyack Boat Club runs a program in May open to people with disabilities, rehabilitation professionals and volunteers interested in learning more about adaptive sailing. In 2014, this consisted of three parts: an evening program called ‘Introduction to Adapted Sailing’ that reviewed mobility techniques and lifejacket screening; followed an ‘Adapted Sailing Clinic’ on the water, and then the ‘Tappan Zee Challenge Regatta’ where sailors of all abilities competed. All but the final dinner following the Regatta were offered free of charge. For more information, contact Matthew Castelluccio at 845-786-4950 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted Aquatics and More
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society New York City- Southern New York Chapter offered an adapted aquatics program from October 2013-June 2014. These water exercises are designed for people living with MS who have varying levels of mobility, including those who use walkers, wheelchairs, canes or other assisted devices. The class is taught in shallow water in a group setting with an emphasis on fun and independence. All registrants must have bowel and bladder control in order to participate in the program. A chairlift is available. The MS Society also offers Wellness Programs in Rockland, Putnam and Westchester and can even connect you to a program of HERO (Help Expand Recreation Opportunities) Adapted Tennis. You can read about this here. (http://www.usta.com/Adult-Tennis/Adaptive-Tennis/Information/hero_inc_expanding_tennis_opportunities/ ). For more information, please contact the MS Society Westchester County in White Plains, NY 10604 at 914-694-1654 or Email: email@example.com.
Flying with hand controls
Freedom’s Wings International (FWI) offers an all-volunteer recreational program for disabled individuals who wish to experience flight in a glider. FWI's goal is to acquaint physically challenged persons with soaring, and then to teach those with the desire and capability to actually pilot a glider using hand controls when he or she does not have the use of both legs. Individuals of all disabilities can arrange flights in sailplanes/gliders which have no engines. These gliders are towed into the sky by a regular airplane and then released for a quiet glide back to the airport, or when conditions permit, sailplane pilots sustain flight by using natural currents in the air.
Since FWI is not a commercial organization flights are arranged by contacting FWI to be included in a scheduled event or individually as personnel/resources/weather allow. A free, introductory flight usually lasts 20 minutes; an instructional flight, where pilot and student work to gain altitude by riding rising thermal currents may last as long as two hours. Flights are operated primary out of Blairstown Airport in northwest New Jersey and Van Sant in Bucks County PA. Contact Freedom’s Wings International at 800-382-1197 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is www.freedomswings.org and on Facebook as "Freedom's Wings International - disabled sports, flying".
The Therapeutic Equestrian Center, located in Cold Spring, features an individualized program of learning how to ride a horse, taking into account a person’s strengths and limitations. Goals include improved physical strength, balance, mobility and coordination, increased attention, concentration, learning and verbal skills and improvements in self-esteem, self-control and confidence. Also offered is Hippotherapy, a physical therapy done by licensed occupational, physical and speech therapists who have been trained to use the natural movement of the horse to help riders regain physical strength, mobility and coordination. Other equine-assisted therapies include non-riding activities such as learning to care for the house through feeding and grooming. For more information, call 845-265-3409, visit their website at www.myfeettakewings.org or contact Sanya Gudim at email@example.com.
Helen Hayes Hospital’s Adapted Sports & Recreation programs include an Adaptive Fishing Clinic at Lake Hessian, Bear Mountain on June 28, 2014 from 9:00am-12:30pm. All equipment will be provided if needed, as well as food and refreshments. Pre-registration is required. Handicap-accessible bathroom facilities are available. Contact Matthew Castelluccio, Adaptive Sports Coordinator at 845-786-4950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Life Van, Auto and Truck Modifications is sponsoring a special wheelchair/airsoft league and games. Participants will enjoy tournament-grade fields with referees, lessons, mask rentals and paintball markers with 500 rounds of paintballs or airsoft markers and 500 bb’s included. Further chest protection is available if requested. The cost per person is $40.00. The fields and rental shop are located at Montgomery Sporting Goods, 300 Bart Bull Road, off of Route 211 in Middletown, NY. Pre-registration is required. Please call 845-361-1244 or email email@example.com for more information. Website is at www.newlifemod.com.
Skiing and Snowboarding
The mainstay of the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s Winter Program is alpine skiing, though adaptive snowboarding is also offered. For skiing, students check in for their lesson, are fitted for their equipment, and meet their instructor in the Adaptive Sports Center at the same location. The slopes of Windham Mountain are easily accessed just out the door of the Center. People with cognitive or physical disabilities who are five years or older can participate. Winter season information for both skiing and snowboarding will be posted after Labor Day at http://www.adaptivesportsfoundation.org/programs/winter-programs/skiing/. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, May 30th, Burke Rehabilitation Center will host its 18th annual Learn to Golf and First Swing Clinic in Elmsford, NY at the Fairview Golf Center. The afternoon (12pm-3pm) will feature a clinic designed to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to learn adaptive techniques for playing golf. All participants with disabilities who attend will receive one-on-one instruction with a trained professional. For more information and/or to register, please contact Deirdre Otto, CTRS, LMT at 914-597-2355 or by email at Dotto@burke.org.
Looking for an indoor sport? Roll Call Wheelchair Dances teaches participants to let dance open the door to a whole new world of excitement. From an initial single dance event in 2010, the program expanded to 9 parties, workshops and events in 2013. Those with manual as well as motorized wheelchairs and scooters can participate, dancing with each other or able-bodied participants. Roll Call’s home base is Nyemchek’s Dance Centre in Pearl River. For more information and current schedule of events, call Diane at 201-391-9498 or email email@example.com. Their website is at www.RollcallWheelchairDance.com.