Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bay Area Sports and Recreation for the Disabled - Be Stoked! Day

A 'Be Stoked!' day to encourage disabled people to join in sports and recreation is being held along the Bay front at South Beach Harbor.

For the first time ever, three organizations have joined together to showcase the wide range of sporting and social opportunities available to disabled adults and youngsters.

'Sometimes people are intimidated to sign up for a trip, so we thought, why not demo what we do,' said Kristi Grotting, a super-ambassador for the groups.

Kristi is President of the Board of Directors for BORP - Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, an Outreach Coordinator for ETC - Environmental Traveling Companions, and a volunteer with BAADS - Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors.

We had this super-accessible space so we thought we would use it, she said of the small pier at the end of the grassy area alongside the Giants' AT & T park and behind the Java Coffee House.

Around her, interested people were trialling bikes of different styles and enjoying a taste of a sail in a dinghy.

They were also chatting to volunteers and being given plenty of literature about all the activities including basketball, Goalball, Power Soccer, hiking, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing, youth programs and adventures and outings.

Wine-tasting, theatres and roller coaster rides were three fun trips that Kristi mentioned. All made possible by BORP who provide the transport for people to attend sports practices and social events.

And it's not only disabled people who are able to benefit from these organizations. For just $40 a year, for example, anyone can enjoy the sailing, either to learn or just to go along for the ride. On Saturdays, the dinghies are out, and on Sundays people meet in the Java House for coffee before setting sail in a keel boat.

Kristi, who works full-time for ETC and volunteers with the other two organizations, is one of the sailing instructors.

How does she fit it all in?

'It's easy! I like to sail, you just come down here and teach other people how to sail. I don't consider it a job!' she says. The reason it is so cheap is because South Beach Harbor donate the docks, volunteers run the activities and people have donated the boats.

'And they're good boats, they're not going to sink! That's important!' she said.

Also there was Elena, a former junior basketball athlete who has devoted the rest of her life so far to coaching, 20 years with BORP and six years with ETC.

'I love it!' she said.

What have these organizations given to her?

'As an athlete, independence, social skills and learning how to play together in a team, and confidence,' she answered.

And she sees this reflected in the people she coaches. She lists independence as the number one asset, followed by social skills 'especially with the kids,' then confidence. 'You can be an amazing basketball player,' is her message.

Ruth, from Texas who has been living in the Bay Area for eleven years and has been associated with BORP through a friend, said, 'BORP is an amazing organization that empowers the young people.'

After today, there is no excuse for anyone not to Be Stoked!

For info:;;, including for BORP's 7th Annual Rev Ride, Sat Sept 26, 2009, Trentadue Winery, Sonoma County

pics showing: dinghy sailing; Kristi; Elena; cycling in tandem

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