Last year, Power To Be was invited to join a Capital Regional District (CRD) engagement session to discuss their plan for creating modifications and adaptations in five of their regional parks. We shared ideas about recreation, inclusion, and connection to wild and natural spaces. We also shared about the barriers our participants have experienced in parks, like over crowdedness, a sense of isolation, and not feeling welcomed at times. Since that initial engagement session, the CRD’s Regional Parks team has come to our Prospect Lake site to see how our adapted spaces and natural places co-exist together. Following their visit, they have committed to actions to continue to grow our partnership while expanding their goals and vision around inclusion.
To expand their learning, the CRD contracted Power To Be to provide workshops to their team. One session focused on how to use the TrailRider while the second session focused on Approaches to Inclusive Outdoor Programming for their larger staff team of conservation, volunteer, recreation, and naturalist staff. The CRD has already put the learning gained from these workshops into practice by offering Inclusive Hikes in their monthly calendar of events. This includes one session that they open to the public where Power To Be brings staff and adaptive equipment to support public access and they bring their team of park naturalists and cultural programmers. In addition, they also work with Power To Be in a closed session to offer a more intimate experience and to have a chance to get to know our community better. Our staff and participants really enjoyed both the sessions with the naturalist and the sessions on exploring Indigenous perspectives. The next public hike with CRD and Power To Be is on October 29th at Francis/King Regional Park; interested participants can sign up online and reserve a TrailRider to use on the hike.
We have been impressed with how approachable, engaged and committed the CRD staff has been to achieving their accessibility goals. This model of partnership is one that Power To Be is sharing with our other Park sector partners across BC and Canada to illustrate how collaboration can create a wider reach and a more responsive program. We are excited to be working with the parks sector to bridge the intentions and practice for inclusion and accessibility. Through partnerships we can collectively remove barriers and create lifelong connections to beautiful spaces and places. Let’s work together to ensure that ‘everyone belongs in nature’!