In 2001, firefighter Troy Becker from Kelowna B.C. had an epiphany. After spending time with his brother-in-law, who has Down syndrome, Becker decided that everyone should have access to the same outdoor activities he takes advantage of on his days off.
That’s how the avid hiker, rock-climber and kayaker launched the Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS). Armed with donated sporting equipment and volunteer help, the organization has grown over the past 11 years to provide multi-day outdoor adventure activities from hiking to rock-climbing for people with different levels of ability around the province.
“Troy just likes people to see that everyone can participate. They might not be able to do it the exact same way, but they can still do it,” says Becker’s mother Linda, who volunteers with her husband for their son’s organization.
On July 23rd and 24th Troy and his team from CRIS met up with Spinal Cord Injury BC at the Jericho Sailing Centre for a day of adaptive cycling, hiking and kayaking. (See more photos from the event here!)
A rainy Monday deterred many people from coming out, but eight people took advantage of the sunshine on Tuesday to “have a go” at a variety of adaptive sports.
For Bobby Brar, this day was a first on many counts. He originally came out to kayak, an activity he had never tried before, but he was elated when he discovered he would get a chance to try adaptive hiking and cycling as well.
“This is so great, I’ve always wanted to try this,” he said as he was getting strapped into a tandem bike.
At the end of the day, he surprised everyone when he beamed: “That was my first time hiking and on a bike in 20 years.”
The day was less novel for Raven Robert, who has been “back at it” paddling Indian warrior canoes and kayaks for years, but no less exciting. Robert rarely turns down an opportunity to hit the water or the trails.
“It’s actually a lot better than sitting all day in a chair. It gets you out and gets you where you want to go,” he says.
Although SCI BC and CRIS had hoped to see more people come out, CRIS founder Troy Becker was happy to meet everyone who did. “Even if we make a difference to just one person, it’s worth it,” he said.
Those in Vancouver and Victoria who missed this event but still want to “Have a Go” are in luck! Four adaptive sporting events happening are happening this week, so act fast!
Troy and his team from CRIS will be at Elk Lake in Victoria on Saturday July 28th and Sunday, July 29th to help SCI BC members on the Island “have a go” at kayaking, canoeing, tandem cycling and adaptive hiking on a Trail Rider.
There are limited spaces so please contact Bert Abbott to RSVP: email@example.com, 250-616-1186.
The Vancouver Rowing Club is hosting two free introductory evenings of adaptive rowing.
You can join Bill Myra, the Vancouver Rowing Club Captain on “the best patio in Vancouver” on Friday July 27th at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday July 31st at 6:30 p.m.
The evening will include introductions to the sport of rowing, the equipment and all people involved. Bring your friends bring your questions.
Please RSVP to Bill Myra at firstname.lastname@example.org