Sunday, December 18, 2016

US Sailing Adaptive Sailing Summit Results

Hello fellow sailing enthusiasts...

As some of you know on Dec. 9th I attended US Sailing's
Adaptive Sailing Summit in San Diego, CA. USA . It was fabulous to mingle with so many who share my passion to help make sailing more inclusive. The goal of this summit was to determine what would help to grow the sport of Adaptive Sailing and make it more inclusive.

The results of the open discussion during this conference were quite revealing... We determined 5 things are needed to help with our goal of making sailing more inclusive.

1. We need to have an easy way to find resources that are currently available, such as adaptive equipment currently in production, sailboats that are being used in various inclusive programs, etc.; 2. The US Sailing website needs to be made easy to navigate to find Adaptive/Inclusive Sailing info; 3. Develop best practices and standards for Adaptive Sailing via education; 4. Improve understanding and support in our local communities and yacht clubs for persons with disAbilities in sailing; 5. A network needs to be built and maintained to keep us all connected in our efforts to build participation in all aspects of the sport. It does no good to have this great summit and then go home and not stay connected.

Another discussion I found interesting was the question... “is there a better term to express what we are trying to accomplish in the sport of sailing?” Some call it “accessible” sailing; others call it “adaptive” sailing; and still others call it “inclusive” or “universal” sailing (basically inclusive and universal mean the same thing). Adaptive is a good word but it implies that something has to be adapted to make a particular boat accessible to persons with disAbilities, however many persons with disAbilities can sail a boat with no adaptions at all. The word accessible implies that something is able to be reached or entered, such as entering or getting aboard a sailboat, or accessing the outdoors via an accessible trail, etc. This word/term certainly fits the goal of making a boat accessible in and of its self, but what we want to do is go beyond the boat and include the programming, education, web resources, etc. The word “inclusion” and/or “universal” seems to be the words to cover it all as these words imply including or covering all the services, people, facilities, equipment, or items normally expected or required. I have to add that Inclusive in this modern era does imply an inclusion of persons with varied identities and political sensitivities. So likely a more neutral term is universal. And I might add some yacht clubs will love the word inclusive and others might be cautious of utilizing an idea or program that includes this word. So Universal seems to make more sense.

This summit takes place each year and I can tell you I look forward to attending it next year and discussing all that we accomplished in 2017.

So what is Access To Outdoors going to do for 2017? First, as usual we have several access projects developing. We hope to have a fully accessible site on Lake Coeur d'Alene and the Spokane River, and continue to work current sites to improve their accessibility. In addition we will be running an inclusive sailing event in Redding California. One part of this event will be the Hobie 16 Trapseat Worlds and the second part will be an Inclusive Sailing Workshop to help persons become Adaptive US Sailing certified. So exciting! 2017 is going to be AWESOME!

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