Summertime is just around the corner and for many of us that means backyard BBQs, farmers markets, picnics in the park, and outdoor art festivals and other events. Much to the disappointment of some individuals who face accessibility concerns, sometimes such events are unable to be attended by the non-able-bodied public, leaving out an entire group of consumers with cash in hand and excitement in their spirit to partake in what many of us look forward to all year.
This summer, why not consider throwing an all-inclusive event? All-inclusive events do not have to stick to just making sure you are accommodating the physical accessibility needs of differently-abled individuals who might attend; but rather is an event that celebrates and recognizes your friends and neighbors who may be touched by disability. Below are some ideas for throwing an all-inclusive event this summer in your own community!
Include events and activities for all ages to make your event family-friendly and open to the entire community. Consider a Wheelchair accessible obstacle course set up on a flat hard surface as opposed to grass using objects like large cones, 3 sided tubes or blocks built out of cardboard that wheelchairs can easily pass under, and objects that will not cause harm (just in case!) like large bouncy balls or foam shapes that could be maneuvered around with a manual or electric wheelchair.
Remember, not everyone with a disability is a wheelchair user so have a variety of activities that individuals with different physical needs can participate in as well. Some ideas could include partnering with a service-animal organization to put on demonstrations or provide educational workshops for parents and adults.
Create a meet-and-green atmosphere. Even simple activities like a social hour for kids, pre-teens/teens, and adults can be held with different appetizers and beverages for each age group to encourage conversations and networking among all attendees.
Use your event to provide services and promote businesses. Invite local business to your event and ask if they would be interested in providing services to attendees in exchange for free promotion. It gives the business an opportunity to network and earn more customers (a great place for passing out business cards) while attracting community members to your event. Think free hand massages, face painting, or a wheelchair repair service. Local disability organizations could also be invited to set up tents and offer information about their services to attendees.
And don’t forget, great food and music help make an event memorable. What a great way to end the day with an outdoor accessible-friendly dance with some great outdoor music?
What other ideas do you have for creating an all-inclusive, disability-friendly event in your community this summer? Share in the comments!