The Town of Perinton and the Perinton Recreation & Parks Department have entered into a partnership with Rochester Accessible Adventures to study inclusion practices in Town parks and the Perinton Community Center as well as camps and classes operated by the Town.
RAA has been studying all aspects of Rec & Parks since July and will start meeting the core group of staff in September to begin training on how to fine tune what the department does in order to be more inclusive.
“This is a great opportunity for us to make sure everyone feels comfortable in all of our wonderful programs and facilities,” said Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna. “I think our staff does an amazing job with everything we do, but the only way you improve is to take a step back every now and then and evaluate how you do things.”
RAA was founded in 2015. The company has worked with dozens of companies since then, including the recreation departments in Irondequoit and Victor.
“Strong, vibrant communities are possible when we ensure people with and without disabilities have equitable access to the health and wellness benefits of parks and recreation services,” said RAA Executive Director Anita O’Brien, who is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with 24 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities. “We are thrilled that Perinton Recreation and Parks will build a culture of Inclusion, which strategically removes barriers and increases inclusive participation throughout all of their programs and operations.”
O’Brien stressed the RAA is not a group that just looks for physical issues with facilities. Instead of just listing where access ramps need to be or rails for stairs, RAA strives to form an inclusive culture in the workplace. It wants to make sure staff thinks inclusive before an issue arises.
“Inclusion is a process,” she said. “It is not something where we tell staff what to do and the next day they are inclusive. It takes time.”
RAA will work with everyone from greeters to park facility employees on how to think inclusive and help form an environment everyone can enjoy. RAA does not just study ways to improve conditions for individuals with disabilities, but for everyone from young children to seniors.
“We are excited to begin this endeavor with Rochester Accessible Adventures,” said Recreation Director Jeff Nutting. “We strongly believe that everyone has the right to recreate and enjoy their time in nature. This initiative will further enhance the experience for our community members.”
The Perinton Recreation & Parks Department services tens of thousands of patrons of all ages every year.
For more information on Rochester Accessible Adventures, go to rochesteraccessibleadventures.org.