Anybody Can Serve
Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
–Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
At the KBF we are dedicated to serving members of the SCI community by making the outdoors, sports, and recreation more accessible. Through our programming, including camps, workshops, consulting, and the Active Fund grant program, we aim to assist people living with spinal cord injury on their journey from injury to independence. And we couldn’t do it without the volunteers who show up to assist with our programs, staff the annual Kelly Brush Ride, host fundraising events, and so much more. But even as we work to break down barriers for one group, we are constantly aware of other inequalities that exist in outdoor sports and recreation.
There are a number of amazing organizations working to make the outdoors more accessible to other groups who have historically faced barriers to accessing outdoor recreation and organized sports. The benefits of these activities—improved mental and physical health, connection to community, a sense of pride in self—are invaluable to all human beings, but barriers to entry make access impossible for many individuals in marginalized communities.
Here’s a look at some of the other organizations working to bring these benefits to the communities they serve. Check them out, and consider giving what you can—in time, funds, or visibility—to bolster the work they are doing.
@unlikelyriders | unlikelyriders.org
Unlikely Riders is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) non-profit organization mobilizing their community to find healing with the mountains while claiming space in the snow sports industry and culture. They are working to reduce or eliminate barriers of access to skiing and riding while also building a supportive community for any BIPOC ‘vermonter’ who is interested in snowsports. Programming includes: the gear closet, which provides winter gear for community members at no cost; free or discounted lift tickets, rental equipment and trail access; ski, snowboard, backcountry, and nordic instruction; knowledge sharing workshops; and a mentorship program to help community members gain confidence and knowledge while building community.
@melaninbasecamp | melaninbasecamp.com
Founded by Danielle Williams in 2016, Melanin Basecamp was created to increase ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ participation in outdoor activities and adventures. Since then, the organization has become focused on increasing the visibility of outdoorsy black, indigenous, people of color and increasing representations in the media and in advertising.
NATIVE LIKE WATER
@nativelikewater | nativelikewater.org
Focused on an indigenous sacred relationship to water, NLW provides opportunities for Native teens and adults in ocean recreation, conservation, wellness, and inter-generational cultural self-exploration. Through residential programming, conferences, course work, and unique ocean-based experiences, NLW connects Indigenous Peoples to natural resources and their community.
YOU CAN PLAY
@youcanplayteam | youcanplayproject.org
The You Can Play Project works to ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and fans. YCP is committed to working with coaches, administrators and organizers to help foster an inclusive environment in the locker room, on the court, and in the stands.
We have seen time and again the incredible impact an active lifestyle can have on people and strive to make accessing outdoor recreation, organized sports, and day to day activity available to all people from all backgrounds. We are so thankful that these amazing organizations are serving their communities with the same passion, dedication, and drive as the KBF, helping make the activities we hold so dear accessible to all. As you think about your own relationship to the outdoors, or how important organized sports have been to your quality of life, we hope you’ll consider supporting these fantastic organizations in all that they do.