Discover – Winter 2019

Re-Discovering Kayaking

Diagnosed with AL Amyliodosis four years ago, Glenna Urbshadt found her way to the BCMOS paddling centre on False Creek through the recommendation of her physiotherapist who strongly encouraged her to sign up for kayaking. “I did and loved it,” Glenna says. “After spending most of my day in a wheelchair, it was so liberating to be on the water and gave me such a sense of normality not to mention freedom.”

Diagnosed with AL Amyliodosis four years ago, Glenna Urbshadt found her way to the BCMOS paddling centre on False Creek through the recommendation of her physiotherapist who strongly encouraged her to sign up for kayaking. “I did and loved it,” Glenna says. “After spending most of my day in a wheelchair, it was so liberating to be on the water and gave me such a sense of normality not to mention freedom.”

“The staff, by the way, were wonderful, very considerate young women,” she says, noting that she “would have loved to go out more, but all the times were taken.” Last summer’s paddling season was certainly busy! This July marked the first time that the paddling program was offered seven days a week, and without this change even being publicized, every single booking was immediately snapped up!

Glenna so enjoyed her experiences kayaking with BCMOS that she made a much appreciated donation to BCMOS and is looking forward to participating again in 2020. She is also eager for ways that she can help to support the program in the future. Thanks for your support, Glenna!

BC Mobility Society

BCMOS Paddles Every Day

Our team expected some interest when we expanded our booking days from five days a week to every day. The 2019 pilot proved very popular with our BCMOS members over the summer. All spots available from the two additional days filled to capacity within hours! The plan is to continue a seven-day program for the entire 2020 season. From its 2015 beginning at the Creekside location, the paddling program has grown by 61%. Thank you BCMOS paddlers! We are now able to offer paddling experiences using two new double kayaks, two singles plus our three paddleboards.

BCMOS Paddling is fortunate to have supportive participants, fabulous volunteers, and amazing summer staff. In 2019, three paddling instructors and two hiking instructors ran our programs to rave reviews. Thank you Talia, Tara, Maddy, Jackmen, and Kaitlyn!

To make the program even more accessible, a group of UBC engineering students have taken on the challenge to make paddling easier by clients with dexterity issues that prevent them from fully gripping the handle. We expect the results to be used in 2020.


Steve Street

Our entire Disability Foundation family was devastated by the passing of long-time ConnecTra Coordinator Stephen Street. Steve was the energy behind ConnecTra workshops and the annual Abilities Expo and Job Fair. Thank you ConnecTra supporters for all your wonderful support and for coming out to Steve’s Celebration of Life on July 23rd. We miss him every day.

Thanks to David Ostro for temporarily continuing on with ConnecTra workshops in 2019: accessible travel, financial security, accessible recreation, employment, and the holiday inspired workshop in late November.

We are very pleased to have Shareen Pasco come on board. She will be splitting her time coordinating ConnecTra and DIGA.

Disabled Independent Gardeners’ Association BC

DIGA Grows to New Heights

2019 was an important year for the Disabled Independent Gardeners Association. Growth was the mandate and two people made sure DIGA would not wilt. Field Coordinator Shareen Pasco and UBC Co-op Lucy Hoang planted the seeds for expansion. In 2019, the number of community gardens went from two to three and eventually to seven in 2020. These gardens are Woodlands, Pandora, Adanac Park, Slocan Park, Cambie Park, Kerrisdale, and Maple Gardens.

DIGA workshops also saw new learning opportunities. From only one in 2018 to seven workshops: FUNdamentals of gardening, container gardening, succulents, Japanese Kokedama, insects, edible wilds, and canning in the adaptive kitchen at the Blusson Centre. We have some great ideas in store for 2020. But as always, we would love to hear from our gardeners. Who should you contact? Well…

We are excited to announce that Shareen Pasco will be Program Coordinator for both DIGA and ConnecTra. Please send your comments to Shareen at Welcome Shareen!

Disabled Sailing Association BC

There Must Be Something in the Water

In 2019, the Disabled Sailing Association of BC trialed seven crew members instead of five as in previous years. Two of the seven were “land coordinators” while four were experienced sailing instructors and rounding out the seven was one office coordinator. The plan in 2020 is to continue with a seven member crew and expand the program to an additional day.

In 2019, DSABC had 145 new sailors come out. Our loyal base of volunteers continue to be the backbone of our ability to deliver the sailing program. In 2019, 32 volunteers came out to Jericho with a total of 731 hours logged! And with more clear skies and fewer smoke days, the number of sails in 2019 reach over 800, a vast improvement over 2018’s smoky summer. Two of our sailors went to Mobility Cup in Ottawa this year; Shara Gutche represented DSABC in the Silver Fleet category and Andrew Davis in the Gold Fleet. Next year the National Yacht Club in Toronto will host Mobility Cup 2020.

Tetra Society

Help’s on the Way!

Introducing our new Regional Coordinators – Nichole, Sylvia and Andrew!

Nichole Yamchuk brings more than 10 years of experience in both fundraising and programs and was the recipient of the “Volunteer of the Year” award with Kids Help Phone in 2014 and is excited to begin to build Tetra communities and make a positive impact throughout the Prairie provinces.

Sylvia Baliko was previously the chapter coordinator for Tetra Hamilton-Halton since 2001, including very successfully fundraising for Tetra in Ontario over the past five years. She is excited about the new challenges the regional coordinator role will bring!

With a background as a researcher and technologist, Andrew Jantzen is committed to creative problem solving to build a better world. He brings to Tetra not only his technical expertise but also his successes in community engagement and policy development for accessibility in Nova Scotia.

Vancouver Adapted Music Society

VAMS Hits the Road

The Vancouver Adapted Music Society wants to provide more musical opportunities to people with disabilities. In 2018, the team thought about expansion beyond the studio at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. The result was unveiled in 2019 – our Mobile Studio. Since July 25th, the Mobile Studio has made its way to Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. Leslie Louie, Sunny Hill’s Family Engagement Advisor, had this to say about our newest program: “thank you VAMS for bringing music to our Sunny Hill families with your new mobile studio! This is a wonderful opportunity for our clients to learn about various aspects of music; learning to play, DJ-ing and recording – with adaptive equipment and instruments. We look forward to growing this program and our partnership with VAMS.” In 2020, VAMS looks forward to bringing the Mobile Studio to more people and locations within the Lower Mainland.

Thank You

The support received from the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation has been an essential part of Tetra Society of North America’s growth over the past year. Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation supported two Tetra initiatives that help Tetra to support more people with disabilities in finding solutions to environmental barriers in different aspects of their lives. The BC Custom Assistive Devices Program supported the creation of 50 assistive devices for people in British Columbia. Tetrabase allows Tetra to use new technology that promotes teamwork among chapter coordinators and encourages sharing of information in the creation of new gizmos.

The Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation generously supported the creation of 50 gizmos for people around British Columbia. Devices created during the project, like the guitar table, support people at work, at home, at school, and at play in living more active, engaged lives.

The support of the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation was also instrumental in the development of TetraBase, a database of completed Tetra devices that allows volunteers and others to find and share solutions to environmental barriers while also providing tools that allow for device creators to support the development of new versions of their device in different parts of the province.

A huge thank you to the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation for supporting Tetra in helping people with disabilities to re-imagine what is possible!