About the Inclusive Recreation Resource Center

Our mission

The mission of the Center is to promote and sustain participation by people with disabilities in inclusive recreation activities and resources. We help all people play wherever they choose!

In order to accomplish this mission, the Inclusive Recreation Resource Center is dedicated to:

  • developing collaborative and ongoing relationships with self advocates with disabilities, as well as local, state and national recreation agencies to initiate sustainable systems change around inclusion
  • educating and involving recreation and parks students in best practices in inclusive recreation, so that these future professionals know how to make recreation services and facilities inclusive as the norm
  • assessing the availability of inclusive and accessible recreation opportunities with rigorous tools and protocols, and cataloging the results in a user friendly, sustainable online database, in collaboration with other recreation agencies
  • providing a referral service that helps people with disabilities and their families find services and facilities for the recreation activities they desire, and assisting them in accessing those resources
  • providing technical assistance to recreation and park providers to help them move toward more inclusive models of recreation service delivery
  • carefully studying and documenting, through a rigorous evaluation design, best practices in improving inclusion recreation for people with disabilities, then disseminating those practices

Services we offer

  • Inclusivity Surveys
    Using a user-friendly tool, the Inclusivity Assessment Tool, we will help programs and facilities assess both physical accessibility and programmatic inclusion.
  • Training
    We provide training, called Inclusion U, to parks and recreation professionals, self-advocates, tourism professionals, human services professionals, families, and anyone interested in increasing opportunities for inclusive recreation. Inclusion U is a one-day workshop that teaches you how to be an Inclusivity Assessor! Eventually, Inclusion U will also be web-based and available on demand to any interested individual. Once you complete Inclusion U, either online or face-to-face, you will be able to complete accessibility surveys and submit the results to the IRRC to be included in an online recreation access database.
  • Online Database for Inclusive Recreation
    All programs or facilities that are assessed using the Inclusivity Assessment Tool are entered into an extensive online database. The database is a comprehensive bank of descriptive information about recreation resources to help people with disabilities better plan their recreation.
  • Technical Assistance
    Anyone providing parks and recreation services can contact the IRRC for help in improving program or facility accessibility. We will help agencies as they work to increase inclusion of people with disabilities and other differences into their parks, programs, or facilities.
  • Recreation Referral Service
    IRRC will assist participants with a disability in identifying their recreation interests and goals, exploring and choosing community recreation resources for inclusion. It may be a simple email exchange or perhaps a phone conversation, or it may take the form of an in-depth interaction, depending on the needs of the individual with a disability.
  • Research and Evaluation
    Central to the Center’s work will be careful study of what works best to facilitate inclusion. We will collect data to help inform us of the best ways to help parks and recreation opportunities be inclusive, and to help people with disabilities achieve their “recreation dreams and aspirations.”

Learn more about us by viewing this webcast

Our history

The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) awarded SUNY Cortland Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department a substantial and renewable grant to establish a statewide resource center for inclusive recreation.  Along with the DDPC, collaborating partners include I Love New York Tourism, the New York State Recreation and Park Society, the Self Advocacy Association of New York, the New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association, and the Department of Environmental Conservation. With the initial support of this grant and our partners, we work to increase access to recreation programs and facilities across New York state so that all people of all abilities can recreate how and where they choose.

We are thrilled to work closely with so many exciting partners.  New York is fortunate to have a Developmental Disabilities Planning Council that values recreation so highly, and is putting resources into making sure that ALL people in the state can access our beautiful parks, wonderful programs, and excellent facilities. Feel free to contact us and share your interest, your ideas, and any thoughts you may have.