Outdoors - for everyone

While many in the Okanagan may take their easy access to the outdoors for granted, those with disabilities can have a harder time getting out of their urban environment.

The Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS) gives people with disabilities the opportunity to experience nature, through hiking, biking and kayaking, among other activities.

CRIS celebrated the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation Friday in Kelowna's Sutherland Park, with themed activities from one of the nation's provinces and territories.

The event also showcased the organization's adaptive cycling, hiking and kayaking equipment.

Clayton March started out as a participant with CRIS 16 years ago, and he's now the vice-president.

“It's so wonderful to be able to go up hiking, and do rock climbing and all these sorts of cool things that I would't be able to do otherwise,” March said. “It's so remarkable to see how far this organization has grown and how it's touched so many lives of people with disabilities.”

Crystal Davidson, the program and logistics co-ordinator with CRIS, said in addition to simply getting people with disabilities outside, the program encourages social interaction among the participants.

“A lot of people with disabilities are in a very clinical environment and are perhaps isolated a lot of the time, so it gives them that interaction with the community,” Davidson said.

There are about 200 active participants with CRIS across the Okanagan.  

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