Access to adventure an exercise in mental ingenuity No Barriers experience widens perspective on what’s possible

Carinna Kenigsberg, No Barriers SummitWorking to foster inclusion and access to nature and recreation through my job is one thing, but to feel the depths of what that really means on a large scale is something completely different.

That became apparent the moment I arrived at the No Barriers Summit in Utah. With smiles and excitement shared between everyone, I gained a deeper understanding of diverse abilities and what is possible with a little creativity and support.

A personal invite and an authentic curiosity made it easy to make the trip from Victoria, British Columbia, and represent the great work our organization Power To Be has been doing for 18 years. I was also able to learn from other organizations about their innovative practices and program delivery models. With Power To Be, I support our program staff to deliver year-round outdoor adventure programs for individuals living with physical, mental and social support needs. At No Barriers, I had the pleasure of facilitating adaptive kayaking and paddleboarding sessions first hand and was in awe every day of the people who joined us.

Working side by side with the team from Adaptive Adventures, I learned how access is really about in the moment ingenuity. Every person’s needs are different and the team looked at everyone with an ability-focused perspective. They adapted equipment on the spot to take someone’s dream to be on the water and turn it into a real experience. From seeing a family being able to paddle together in kayaks to a mother and daughter paddleboarding side by side, it was a thrilling opportunity. At Power To Be we share in the philosophy of being a “yes we can” organization and the spectrum of people at the No Barriers Summit really opened my mind to ways we could be doing more.

I really valued my time in Utah — for the immense beauty within Park City and for how the clinics at the Summit offered people a chance to soak up a multitude of different adventure-based activities that most people never get to do in a lifetime. The people I met as participants, as well as the fantastic staff I worked with at Adaptive Adventures, The National Ability Center and The National Sports Center for the Disabled, illustrated that we can all be stewards to connect people to the natural world no matter what limitations we carry.

I brought that excitement home with me, and continue to draw inspiration from the No Barriers mentality in my work with Power To Be. As I continue to support our inspiring participants, it’s clearer to me than ever that we all play a vital role in encouraging lifelong change through impactful moments in nature.

Read more about my experience on the Power To Be website. (Link: https://powertobe.ca/blog/item/moving-past-barriers-to-get-active-outside)