The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are encouraging people to get ready for an inclusive day of fun as they partner with Special Olympics New York in bringing Get Together Day to select state parks this summer. Using New York’s award-winning state parks as the backdrop, Get Together Day will bring people with and without developmental disabilities together for fun, healthful activities that encourage everyone’s participation regardless of level of ability while showcasing the ever-increasing range of accessible opportunities available at state parks.
By synthesizing the spirit of OPWDD’s Get Together Community Inclusion Campaign and Special Olympics New York’s expansive program offerings, Get Together Day will amplify the message that everyone is welcome and we are stronger as a community when people with and without developmental disabilities live, work and play together.
Get Together Day will offer specific activities geared to each of the seven participating parks from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 7. Program and scheduling details for each location are listed below and can be found by visiting parks.ny.gov:
Long Island – Sunken Meadow State Park, 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park, NY. Meet at Field 1/Main Bathhouse area for nature programs, a Special Olympics New York bocce experience and more. Guarded swimming will be available at the beach.
New York City – Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, New York City. Meet at the Main Stage for park tours, a Special Olympics New York bocce experience and more.
Hudson Valley – Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, 2957 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights. Meet at Picnic Area 1 for nature programs, park tours and health and fitness activities with Special Olympics New York.
Capital District – John Boyd Thacher State Park, 830 Thacher Park Road, Voorheesville. Meet at the visitor center for tours and activities. A hawk watch and Birds of Prey program will be held from 10-2 in the Upper Overlook area.
Central New York – Green Lakes State Park, 7900 Green Lakes Road, Fayetteville. Meet at the Environmental Education Center for nature programs and a demonstration of the accessible kayak launch.
Genesee Region – Letchworth State Park, 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile. Meet at the Humphrey Nature Center beginning at 11 a.m. for activities. The September Nature Walk will take place at 1 p.m. A butterfly garden walk will take place at 3 p.m., followed by a butterfly release at 3:30 p.m. Please present Access Pass or sign-in for Get Together Day at park’s entrance gate.
Western NY – Buffalo Harbor State Park, 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo. Meet at Shelter 4 for park activities, nature programs and health and fitness activities with Special Olympics New York.
Free admission will be offered upon entry to people who mention they are at the park for Get Together Day. Guests are encouraged to bring picnic lunches and their own games or sporting equipment. For details about visitor amenities at each location, visit parks.ny.gov.
“Get Together Day at NYS Parks offers New Yorkers of all ability levels the opportunity to visit and explore the splendor of our accessible park system that offers something for everyone and provides the chance for friends and neighbors to get to know one another as we celebrate community,” said OPWDD Commissioner Theodore A. Kastner. “OPWDD thanks our friends at NYS Parks and Special Olympics for joining us as we bring people together all across the state.”
“With stunning scenery and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, New York State Parks are natural gathering places for friends and family throughout the state. We are committed to ensuring that all people of all abilities feel welcome at our parks and have an equal opportunity to experience all that we offer. Thank you to our friends and partners at the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and Special Olympics New York for this exciting program and we hope everyone has a great time outside at their parks on Get Together Day,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.
“Every day across the state, Special Olympics New York athletes train and compete in authentic, quality sports while also showing the world what true inclusion looks like, and why it’s important,” said Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York. “We are proud to showcase some of our programs and to celebrate the abilities of all New Yorkers during Get Together Day.”
For more information, contact [email protected].