Organization creates activities, opportunities for disabled

Common Ground Outdoor Adventures is a Cache Valley non-profit started by a volunteer effort in 1993. Common Ground ensures that every child and adult with a disability has the opportunity to ride a bike, ski down the slopes or enjoy whitewater rafting. Sammie Macfarlane is the organization’s executive director. “Right now we are fundraising for some exciting projects and we have some great things going on this winter.” She said Common Ground organizes over 250 activities a year. “Sometimes people are surprised at how many things we do during the winter. We provide alpine skiing; we have a dog sledding trip coming up soon. Also, there is cross-country skiing and we take people to visit our national parks in the West. These are wonderful experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have without Common Ground.” Macfarlane said one of the challenges Common Ground faces is generating resources to fund the activities. “The downhill bi-skis cost around $4000, some of our bikes are $5000. So you can imagine it would be difficult for individuals and families, caring for their loved ones, to obtain on their own.” Macfarlane said volunteers come from throughout the community. “We welcome and encourage everyone to volunteer and our donors who come and support us find their lives are changed as much, maybe more, than the people with disabilities who participate.” She said volunteers come from USU and local high schools and also include community members of all ages. “We have people who come back, time and time again. We can use help in the office and also in the outdoors. All skill levels are welcome.” Common Ground generates funding from several sources, including a dinner and auction every fall, which Macfarlane said is well supported. “We receive funding from foundations, writing lots of grants and donations from generous individuals.” Macfarlane said tax-deductible donations are welcome anytime. She invites interested donors to visit the website, or call 435-713-0288.

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