As a fully functioning adult living in a world as a ‘normal’ person (of course, that could be debated) I never had the opportunity to spend any time with the developmentally disabled population until the creation of Search for Adventure (SFA). About 6 years ago, Horny Toad (Nau’s sister company) and Search, Inc. got together to create SFA. The big idea here is that people without disabilities regularly have experiences that shape them outside of home, work or family – the developmentally disabled are often dependent on the government for benefits and services – rarely do they get the chance to experience the world beyond their day to day regiment. The primary goal of SFA is to give access to life experiences based on what they want to do instead of on what others have thought they should or shouldn’t, could or couldn’t do.
I have learned first hand that these trips empower people with developmental disabilities. They are able to see the world outside of the daily routine; not just survive but thrive, learn and experience. In 2004, one of the first trips was to the Powderhorn Dude Ranch in Colorado. One of my favorite quotes from this first trip is from Ed. Ed is a horse enthusiast and budding cowboy. He got off the plane, took in the scenery and asked, “Is this heaven?”. If I could share the twinkle in his eyes or the excitement in his voice… you would understand.
This program has been so successful that we would like to offer additional experiences to more people. In our dream state we conjured up the idea of the “Adventuremobile” – essentially, a modified van. This vehicle would allow more accessible and economical trips to the most severely and profoundly disabled individuals. Here’s the cool part – you can help us reach our goal with the simple click of a button. (Seriously, it is that easy.) SFA has applied for a grant and the one with the most votes wins. You can learn more and, of course, we welcome your vote.