Volunteering with the Universal Access Program

Learn how you can volunteer and get involved with the DCR's Universal Access Program.

Table of Contents

Four young women are seated at a table in a grassy field. The table has face painting supplies on it. The young women are smiling..

General information

Volunteers help the Universal Access Program fulfill its mission to bring outdoor recreation opportunities to park visitors of all abilities. Many volunteer roles center on active support of our adaptive recreation programs, but we welcome administrative support as well.

In general as a volunteer, you'll need to meet our essential eligibility criteria for the activity you'll be helping with. You'll also need to sign a photo release.

Volunteering at seasonal programs

Our adaptive recreation programs include kayaking, canoeing, cycling, hiking, rowing, skiing, and skating. Volunteer roles may include: facilitating games, acting as a sighted guide on a hike, engaging others in conversations, paddling tandem kayaks, pedaling tandem cycles, pulling or pushing a hiking wheelchair, offering companionship on a bike ride, helping move and organize gear, or pushing someone in an ice sled.

We are also looking for experienced photographers and videographers to help capture what goes on at our programs. If you are interested in photographing or filming our programs or events, please get in touch.

A person in a hiking wheelchair is being pulled by two people in Universal Access vests. The people pulling the hiking wheelchair are using long poles. The group is walking along a trail by a river. Trees line the riverbank.

The Universal Access Program works with a number of adaptive recreation providers to offer programs across the state and throughout the year. Volunteers at a program will often be working under the leadership of one of these providers. Each program and each provider may have different volunteer opportunities and requirements, so always be sure to check with the provider to find out what you need to know.

Visit our current program schedule to see if there are any programs that you'd like to help out with. Contact the registration person for the program to find out about volunteer opportunities. If you'd like to get on our mailing list to be notified of upcoming programs, please contact us.

Volunteering at our annual adaptive recreation fair

Three photos are shown next to each other. On the left, two women are riding a tandem recumbent cycle together and smiling. In the middle, a young child is looking at a nature display that has sticks, insects, and a terrarium.  On the right, two people are looking at a table covered in brochures and flyers.

Each year, the Universal Access Program hosts a free adaptive recreation fair at Artesani Playground/Herter Park in Brighton on the second Saturday after Memorial Day weekend. 

This fun and rewarding event is a unique way for folks with disabilities and their families and friends to learn about accessible recreation opportunities in the parks and with other organizations across the state. The fair runs from 10 a.m.–3 p.m., with volunteer orientation starting at 9 a.m.

Volunteers help out with the many activities at the fair, and with set up and take down. Whatever your role, you’ll be helping folks have fun and try adaptive activities!

  • Face painting
  • Kite decorating
  • Adaptive hiking and letterboxing
  • Adaptive cycling
  • Adaptive and inclusive games
  • Refreshments
  • Registration
  • Photography
  • Set up and take down

Volunteers will need to undergo a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check and fill out a volunteer release form and a photo release form. Volunteers under the age of 18 will also need to have a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.

Additional Resources

Other ways you can help

Three people in bright orange vests are standing in a parking lot in front of a playground. They are holding clipboards and smiling at the camera.

Sometimes we have other projects that we could use help with, like outreach efforts, graphic design, equipment maintenance, or accessible trail mapping. If you have a skill or talent that you'd like to share, or a suggestion for a volunteer project to improve access in the parks, please contact us!

You can also support the Universal Access Program financially by donating to the Conservation Trust Fund and indicating that you'd like to contribute to the Universal Access Program. Your tax-deductible donation will help provide access to our parks through site improvements, adaptive recreation equipment, and adaptive recreation programs. Thank you for your support!

Additional Resources

Contact   for Volunteering with the Universal Access Program

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