Thursday, September 8, 2011

Opening The Door To The Outdoors For The Disabled

Having a disability can close many doors, and though with help and modern technology there are less and less closed doors, one that has been hard to open is access to the outdoors. A local organization seeks to open up that possibility by providing recreational fishing activities for persons with disabilities. Fishing Has No Boundaries, a Wisconsin organization that recently added a chapter in Milwaukee, is a non-profit 501-C3 organization whose goal is to open up the great outdoors for people with disabilities through the world of fishing.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently highlighted the story of Dave Coon, volunteer and co-chair of the group's Milwaukee chapter. An avid fisher disabled by a construction accident, Coon has rehabbed his way back to be able to fish using the methods of FHNB and through the organization helps others do it as well.

Fishing provides a way for people, especially men and boys, a way to connect with nature other than hikes, camping, and biking. It is a great family activity that allows men to connect with their children through nature. As Coon said: "You spend time outdoors, you connect with Mother Earth, you gain energy, that's true for able-bodied people and those with disabilities." Since the boat moves you through nature versus having to go yourself, it provides easier access, and FHNB makes it even easier by facilitating and assisting in the access with specialized equipment such as ramps to get in boats and special fishing gear.