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GOOD - Great Outdoors Opportunities for the Disabled or Disadvantaged

One of the programs of Boise River Volunteers is called GOOD. Our mission is to make recreation on water and on lands accessible for anyone with any disability or disadvantage. We are still working on a Logo and website for GOOD were we can post more stories, pictures and videos of the people who use the program. We will also have links and info for other organizations who have and support adaptive outdoor opportunities. By working together with other organizations and forming partnerships we can make the world more accessible to all. All of the events that take place in the next couple years will be an important part in the formation of the GOOD network. As you all know times are tight but to keep programs going we still need more volunteers and donations no matter how big or small. Here is a story from one of the many people we've helped experience the great outdoors:

My name is Roger Cochern, I have Parkinson's Disease and have had it for about 14 years. I'm only 53 years old, that's young, for getting this disease. The Dr.'s call it "early onset", anyway, suffice it to say that over the last 14 years the disease and the medications have taken their toll on my body and I find it necessary to use a wheelchair to get around sometimes.

I live close to Eagle Island State Park. On this particular weekend Eagle Island Experience was taking place. It's a tie-dyed, arts and crafts, band playing, belly dancing, hippie fest... it's a lot of fun. Living so close and having an electric wheelchair that boogies along at a pretty good clip means I could enjoy the festival without relying on any one else. The only problem was, I didn't feel very good. My Parkinson's wasn't responding to my meds very well, and my body was twitching and moving all by itself. It's frustrating, challenging, embarrassing, and it would have been very easy to just stay home. That's when I remembered this hokey song "I hope you dance" I think LeAnn Womack sings it. I'm not much of a country and western fan, but I like the message. It says, "If you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance". At that particular time I chose to dance. Seems like such a small decision, but that's what it took just to get to the festival.

After I got there I still didn't feel much better so I parked under a tree and just listened to the music and hoped my twitching body didn't draw too much attention. While I was sitting there a guy named Chris Crawford from Boise River Volunteers approached me and asked if I would like to ride on one of their rafts. He was saying something about making the river more accessible to the disabled, which sounded like a good thing. I can apologize now for not paying more attention to what he was saying, but I was already thinking up reasons why I couldn't go. While he was still explaining everything to me, here came that damn song again...asking me if I was going to sit it out or dance. I really didn't feel like it, but, I said alright I'll dance, uh, I mean I'll do it.

We met on the shore by the lake. He and a couple of his friends helped me in to the raft and pushed us off. It was pretty cool tooling around the lake watching the ducks and geese listening to the quiet sounds of the water rippling. It was so peaceful out on the water you almost didn't notice the wildlife on the shore, ( if you've ever been to one of these festivals you know what I'm talking about ). After awhile Chris asked me if I anted to row, I said sure. So here I've gone from not wanting to go to the festival to rowing a raft around the lake at Eagle Island. While I was rowing the raft I remember thinking, I'm glad I chose to dance! That's why it looked like I was smiling for no apparent reason.

Thanks for the ride!

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