Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate at programs?

Unless otherwise noted, our programs are open to people with disabilities and their family and friends. Our programs provide inclusive recreation opportunities that are enjoyable for people of all abilities.

Can my able-bodied friend, family member, or caregiver come? 

Absolutely!  We are committed to inclusive recreation, and we include people with disabilities and people without disabilities in our programs.  Currently, about half of our participants have disabilities.  Other participants are friends, family members, and care givers. 

Do you offer transportation?

Unfortunately, due to insurance regulations we can not transport any participants in our vehicles.  We recognize that finding transportation is difficult  for many of our participants, and we encourage you to post on our Facebook site to connect with other participants who may be going to the same program.  We can not arrange rides nor drive with any participants.

Why do I need to fill out a waiver every year?

Our waivers include medical information and contact information, which must be kept current in our records.  In order to assure that we have current consent and information about participants, we require that each participant fill out a waiver each calendar year.

Is there a cost to participate?

It depends on the program.  We do charge participation fees for most of our summer programs:  kayaking and canoeing are $5 and cycling is $3.  These fees help us to offset the significant costs we incur to provide these programs.There is generally no fee for our winter programs.

It actually costs over $30 per participant per program.  Donations are always welcome, as the funding we receive for our programs does not fully cover our costs.

We do offer other fee-based programs, including Individual Recreation Plans, private lessons, and other special trips and activities.  The fees for these programs will be clearly advertised on our calendar. 

What type of equipment do you have at programs?

Winter Programs

We offer kick sleds, ice sleds, skate walkers, x-country skis (for both stand and sit skiers), and snowshoes.   Our Wendell State Forest Programs include snowmobile rides.

Cycling Programs

We offer a variety of bikes for people with all levels of ability and disability, including:  tandem tricycle, Duet (tandem trike with wheelchair seat in the front), recumbent tricycles, hand cycles, push tricycles, and traditional bicycles.

Kayaking Programs

We use both tandem and single kayaks that are stable with wide cockpits.  We have lifejackets with and without head support.

Canoeing Programs

We use recreational canoes and have a set of outriggers available to use for people who need more stability.

Hiking/Letterboxing programs

We have trails wheelchairs available for people who need them. 

Do you rent equipment?

We are not able to rent equipment because our insurance requires that AOA staff be present while our equipment is in use. 

What ages are your participants?

Our participants are all ages.  We have had toddlers participate as well as adults in their 80s and 90s!

What disabilities do you serve?

We work with people of all abilities and have experience working with many different disabilities.  Some common disabilities that are represented at our programs include:  spinal cord injury, amputation, brain injury (acquired or traumatic), blindness, deafness, autism, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, developmental, cognitive, psychiatric, age-related, and more. 

Why does everyone have to wear a helmet (at cycling programs)?

Everyone must wear a properly fitting helmet at our cycling programs because helmets have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of brain injury in case of an accident. Though we cycle on rail trails and are generally isolated from cars, using tandem bikes and negotiating the trail with other cyclists presents a risk that is reduced by the use of helmets.  You are welcome to bring your own or to use one of ours.

If you or a potential participant that you know has a sensory issue that makes wearing a helmet difficult, we will be glad to work with you to work up to being able to wear a helmet.  Please call our office to discuss options.

Why does everyone have to wear a PFD (life jacket) at canoeing and kayaking programs? 

Everyone must wear a properly fitting PFD (life jacket) at our paddling programs to reduce the risk or drowning in case of an accidental capsize.   PFDs must be tight enough that they do not move when you pull up on the shoulders.  This ensures that it will stay on in the water and that staff can pull up on it to assist participants who need to re-enter their canoe or kayak from the water.

If you or a potential participant that you know has a sensory issue that makes wearing a PFD difficult, we will be glad to work with you to work up to being able to wear one.  Please call our office to discuss options.