In welcome news of accessible recreation, an all-inclusive, high-ropes challenge course opened this week in the woods at Verdun Adventure Bound in Rixeyville.

The four new elements were specially designed for people with disabilities and physical limitations, according to Honore D. Hastings, executive director of the 55-acre nonprofit facility. The organization focuses on team building in the great outdoors.

“Verdun Adventure Bound is proud to be the first adaptive challenge course with qualified staff trained to work with disabled clientele in our area,” she said.

The accessible project was accomplished in collaboration with The Arc of North Central Virginia and with a $20,000 grant from Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. For Arc Board President Amy Hunter, the new challenge course is especially personal.

“We are thrilled that our youngest son, who has a disability, will now be able to have a Verdun experience,” she said in a statement.

Verdun staff and Challenge Design Innovations began the build on Tuesday, March 24 while keeping a lengthy distance during the coronavirus pandemic. All four of the course additions are high ropes challenges, previously difficult elements for adults, and children with impaired mobility to be able to use and enjoy.

“This adaptive course expansion will allow youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate side-by-side with others—what a win for everyone!” said Jane Bowling-Wilson, Northern Piedmont Community Foundation Executive Director. “We see this experiential learning, accessibility, team-building, and inclusion as a true advantage for this population.”

Enabling people of all abilities to participate side-by-side in Verdun’s personal growth and team-building programs will be a phenomenal demonstration of community inclusion, added Marilyn McCombe, Executive Director of The Arc of North Central Virginia.

“My daughter learns best through experiential learning; however, due to mobility impairments, there were many course elements she couldn’t access, making it challenging for her to be included in the life-changing programs at Verdun,” McCombe said. “I’m ecstatic that everyone will now have access to the supports they need for equitable access to course elements alongside their peers.”

Hastings said her very talented team is ready and eager to serve more adults and youth on its already popular challenge course. At this time, the facility is closed in adherence with state and federal guidelines. To schedule a future team-building day, contact 540/937-4920 or admin@verdunadventurebound.org.

“We can’t wait until we are open again,” Hastings said.

The mission of Verdun is to provide team-building opportunities that support and promote personal growth and environment studies. The organization customizes programs for the needs of public, private, and parochial students, including at-risk youth.

Verdun is also committed to providing support to the Boy Scouts of America, church youth groups, and corporate team-building. Verdun, located in Culpeper County, was the 2019 Fauquier Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit of the Year.

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