Have you heard of Splore? If not, you should, because this not for profit organization is doing huge things; sharing their love of the outdoors with disabled individuals of all ages with some of the most badass wilderness programs and special events ever created- and I don’t mean easy walks in the park! White water rafting, skiing and rock climbing are just a few of the expeditions this group embarks on, showing the world that there are no barriers when it comes to taking risks and pushing limits.
I had a nice chat with Splore marketing director Lindsay Malone, who was eager to share the ins and outs of this unique organization and how it is changing lives everywhere.
C: What is the story behind Splore’s roots
L: Splore is celebrating over three decades of providing customized outdoor adventures for children and adults with disabilities and disadvantages. Our roots date back to 1977 when our first white water rafting trip was launched from Moab, Utah. For 35 years, we have been providing outdoor adventures to people of varying abilities and of low socioeconomic status. Our goal is to connect underserved and disabled populations with Utah’s great outdoors through canoeing, rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing and rafting. These adventure trips increase access to recreation resources while promoting health, wellness, independence and social capital. Splore strives to remove any and all barriers to engaging in the outdoors and forming a connection with Utah’s wild lands.
C: What is the mission of Splore?
L: At Splore, outdoors adventures are the medium we have chosen to change someone’s life for the better. We are committed to removing any and all barriers to experiencing the joy, bonding and empowerment that comes from a meaningful outdoor experience.
C: What programs does Splore run and what is the main focus of these programs?
L: Splore’s Salt Lake and Moab Programs serve approximately 2500 people of varying abilities each year, representing close to 5000 user days. Our trips are one to five day trips along sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain ranges. Each is designed to the specific needs and abilities of the group or individual attending. We serve a wide variety of populations: veterans, adults with mental illness, children with autism and their families, adults with spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries, youth in treatment and many more.
In the last 10 years, Splore has expanded its clientele to include individuals of low socioeconomic status, as well as refugee and at-risk families. Splore recognizes that there are many barriers to accessing the outdoors beyond physical and developmental disabilities.
C: Also, anything coming up for those who want to take part? How can they learn about future events?
We run private and group trips every day of the week. Anyone interested in going on an adventure can contact us at 801-484-4128, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.splore.org. We have a few spots left on a Cataract Canyon trip at the end of August (details: http://splore.org/activities/whitewater-rafting/cataract-canyon-whitewater-rafting/). Our website is full of dates for adventure trips, events, etc.
C: What kind of an impact have these programs and events had on participants?
L: For most, a Splore trip represents a huge step out of someone’s normal life experience. On every Splore trip, clients experience the joy of being a part of a loving community of clients, volunteers, and guides. We value every member of our community and the unique contribution they bring to the outdoor experience. Historically, it was thought that to care for someone with disability meant sheltering them from the world. Risk-taking was feared and avoided. At Splore, we believe that there is dignity in risk-taking and that it is an inherent part of living a full and robust life. We manage the risk of our adventures, so that every Splore participant feels empowered and dignified.
C: In what ways can people get involved?
L: People can be involved in many ways: they can participate on one of our outdoor adventures, they can volunteer on programs, they can attend events we host and they can donate (in kind or monetary). All the details can be found at www.Splore.org.