Sojourn Funding Adaptive Recreation

The impetus for the starting this endeavor, Sojourn Funding Adaptive Recreation (SoFAR), came from spending four exhausting days last Summer working with the below-pictured 'cast of characters'. Together Venture Outdoors and Dynamic Paddlers had sponsored a multi-day workshop on adaptive paddling, which was taught by the American Canoe Association. I had already acquired an ACA Instructor certification in kayaking just the year before, and knowing the quality of instruction present in any ACA course, I was more that excited to increase my paddling skills. But, as is the case in most true learning experiences, the 'environment' and the degree of engagement and involvement of the group in that experience greatly affects what you gain from it. A more incredibly gifted, competent, and storied band of outdoor enthusiasts I have never seen, and the experience I had over the course of those four grueling days left me, quite literally, speechless. (For those of you I don't know, my being speechless is not a common occurrence.)
          As a result of this exposure to adaptive recreation, I started to rethink a 'bucket list' trip I had been contemplating for years which involved paddling the Allegheny River from Kinzua to Pittsburgh, then biking the Great Allegheny Passage to Harper's Ferry, and then backpacking the Appalachian Trail to Lexington, Virginia. But then I started to think, hey, I don't need to leave Western Pennsylvania to find some of the most incredible outdoor venues on the East coast. I started thinking about how I might be able to string together a trip which traversed some of the most prominent outdoor recreation attractions in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region -- the Clarion River, The North Country Trail, The Great Allegheny Passage, the Conemaugh and Kiski Rivers, the Montour Trail, the Allegheny River and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. And more importantly, I started thinking about the possibility that something more than just having a few memories could come out of a trip like this.
          After I let the idea 'perk' for a while, and came up with the present name for this endeavor, I brought the idea to Venture Outdoors for their endorsement. (Kind of hard to offer to engage in fundraising efforts for someone who doesn't want it.) Coming to Venture Outdoors was obvious. Both my wife and I have volunteered with Venture Outdoors for years. In that capacity, I have seen innumerable instances of the value gained by people, individually, and the region, as a whole, from "...connecting everyone to the benefits of outdoor recreation throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania", which is at the heart of Venture Outdoors Mission.                      Believing that "everyone" really should mean everyone, I could think of no better cause to lend my fundraising efforts to. The existence of opportunities for adaptive recreation provides those with disabilities an equal chance to pursue the intrinsic happiness that comes from getting outdoors. All funds raised will be used exclusively to purchase adaptive recreation equipment and for personnel training to help support adaptive recreation programming.

The name SoFAR isn't meant to just represent Sojourn Funding Adaptive Recreation. While you can see from some of the videos posted on my Facebook page that adaptive recreation has come 'so far', there is still 'so far' to go. Please help. I will be giving it my best efforts starting June 3rd. Make sure to follow us! Twitter@sojourn_far and Instagram@sojourn_far.
 
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • Dave Rizzo 
    • $100 
    • 58 mos
  • Craig Hoke 
    • $250 
    • 58 mos
  • Tack Hammer 
    • $90 
    • 59 mos
  • Cheryl Taskey 
    • $100 
    • 59 mos
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Organizer

Joel Johnston 
Organizer
Pittsburgh, PA
VENTURE OUTDOORS INC 
Registered nonprofit
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