For untold numbers of people around the globe, adaptive scuba diving allows them to experience a world of freedom and independence without the restraints of gravity. Engaged in this active sport, adaptive divers can enjoy a spirit of camaraderie, and the immeasurable benefits of mental and physical well-being. Escaping physical confines and restrictions, these individuals are able to continue living life on their own terms; through their own talents; and through a drive fueled by personal determination and the encouragement of others.
The Global Abilities Foundation (GAF) hosts the Rec Fest, a recreation festival for all ages and abilities. The event showcases wheelchair sports demonstrations, recreation activities such as art, scuba diving, and gardening, and organizations providing resources for education, employment, housing, and other services. Over five dozen organizations partner with GAF to make the Rec Fest a success each year, and more than three thousand individuals have attended the event since inception.
Recreation is an important tool in the physical and psychological rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. Through the Rec Fest, Global Abilities increases participation in recreation by individuals with disabilities, fosters collaborations between organizations providing disability services, and educates the public about the capabilities of people with special needs.
One in five Americans is living with a disability! In addition to physical challenges, many persons with disabilities also have secondary complications such as social isolation, low self-esteem, and depression. Recreation is an important element of the physical and mental well-being of all of us, but persons with disabilities do not have the same access to recreation as do their able-bodied counterparts.
The Rec Fest is a one-stop shop for persons with disabilities to get exposed to a multitude of different activities. We demonstrate numerous adapted sports for adults and children with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Examples include SCUBA diving, rock climbing, wheelchair basketball, martial arts, and dancing. Global Abilities also features fun carnival games for children and their families. All guests are encouraged to try out the different activities and receive information about how to get involved with various programs. In addition to the demonstrations, organizations provide information for recreation, legal help, travel, employment, and other services. The Rec Fest features activities for all ages and abilities!
The Rec Fest mission is to 1) increase participation in recreation by persons of all abilities, 2) educate the public about disability awareness, and 3) increase collaborations between separate organizations that provide disability resources. The event is free to all participants.
The Rec Fest changes people's lives. Below is a quote from the mother whose six-year-old son has quadriplegia and cerebral palsy: "(He) said the 'he had a ball' and that he is 'so excited to now have his own sport' after having tried out power soccer. Thank you for putting the event together. The experience definitely changed the course of my son's life!"
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, Global Abilities will host the 2nd Baltimore Rec Fest at Patterson Park. Activities at the event will include fencing, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, wheelchair sports, arts and crafts, and miniature golf.
One in five Americans is living with a disability! In the Baltimore region alone, several hundred thousand individuals have a physical disability, developmental disability, or sensory (hearing or sight) impairment. In addition to physical challenges, many persons with disabilities also have secondary complications such as social isolation, low self-esteem, and depression. Recreation is an important element of the physical and mental well-being of all of us, but persons with disabilities do not have the same access to recreation as do their able-bodied counterparts.
The Rec Fest showcases recreational activities for all ages and abilities. The Rec Fest mission is to 1) increase participation in recreation by persons of all abilities, 2) educate the public about disability awareness, 3) increase collaborations between separate organizations that provide disability resources, and 4) raise funds to help our partner organizations continue their programs on an ongoing basis. The event is free to all participants.
Camp S.T.A.R. - Children's Miracle Network 2013 - Penn State Hershey: For the past 18 years Hilltop Diving has participated in Camp S.T.A.R. by offering a day of SCUBA diving in a pool to children with various physical disabilities. Camp S.T.A.R. is a multi-day summer sports camp for children ages 10 -17 who have physical disabilities. It is sponsored each year by the join efforts of Penn State Childrens’ Hospital at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Childrens’ Miracle Network. It provides the opportunity for children who use adaptive equipment to compete in sports. The special adaptations “level the playing field”. Click here to see what this camp and Hilltop Diving have been able to offer these dauntless children for a short time each summer.
Children's Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital provides funding for life saving equipment, ground breaking pediatric research and specialized programs for patients and families. Funds are also used to provide scholarships so patients with disabilities and other serious health issues can attend camps each summer. Here's a video about the 2012 Camp S.T.A.R. (Sports, Teamwork and Recreation).
Children's Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital in a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children by raising funds for equipment, research, patient programs and services.
July – August 2009 Hilltop Diving Instructors conducted a summer camp SCUBA Junior Diver certification program for the Girl Scout Camp Laughing Waters located in Montgomery County PA. Lots of laughter and fun had by all!
Other Accolades and Events 'Hilltop Diving' has been a part of over the past years include:
The Journal of Underwater Education, Fourth Quarter 2015, Vol.XXVII., Issue 4, Page 11
The Philadephia Inquirer (Sunday, August 23, 2015, (Local News, page b3, "Amputees on the Move"
The Journal of Underwater Education, Fourth Quarter, 2010 vol.xxll., Issue 4, page 30 - 33
NortheastDiveNews.com, June 2009, "If You Build It They will Come"
Perkiomen Valley High School Post-Prom Party, 2009 Graduation, "Keeping Kids Safe After Prom"
Sunday Times Herald, Montgomery County's Newspaper, Sunday, April 26, 2009, 209th year - no. 316, "Party On" After Prom Party 2009, (front page)
Pottstown Mercury, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, The Mercury, Monday, April 27, 2009, page a3, "Post- Prom Makes Waves at Perk Valley"
The Boyertown Area Times, December 25, 2003, page 15, "Soggy Santa Claus", page 8, "Underwater Tree Lighting"
The Boyertown Area Times, (Times Community Living), August 26, 1999, "Physically Challenged Overcome Obstacles to Enjoy SCUBA Program", (Third Section SCUBA on 16)
The Boyertown Area Times, August 8, 1996, Volume 140, Number 10, front page and SCUBA on 3, "Down Periscope: Physically Challenged Enjoy Mobility"