By Antonio Huerta
Playing outside, going for a swim, hiking, hunting, fishing: these are all easily accessible for most Coloradans.
Being physically active and enjoying everything Colorado has to offer is an amazing privilege, but some do not have the opportunity due to disabilities.
Outdoor Buddies is an exceptional program that relies on able bodied volunteers to help disabled individuals and disadvantaged youth enjoy the best of what Colorado's natural resources have to offer. One of their most popular programs is for mobility-disabled persons, a high percentage of whom are elderly or military veterans. Outdoor buddies stood with Kelly when he had difficulty standing on his own.
Five years ago, Kelly lost his right leg while serving overseas. He thought his outdoor hunting days were over until he contacted Outdoor Buddies. They assured him that it was possible for him to return to doing what he loved; they took him on a successful elk hunting trip in northwest Colorado.
Without progress, organizations do not tend to grow and succeed. The participation in Outdoor Buddies continues to grow especially after their program expansion to provide fishing, hunting, and camping outings for wounded warriors and other disabled persons. Outdoor Buddies also worked to expand many other youth groups including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, boys clubs, girls clubs, and at-risk youth organizations. Outdoor Buddies has been successful in its programs, proof that extensive feedback and inclusion of educational and enjoyable recreation resources can broadly benefit the community. El Pomar has been a proud supporter of Outdoor Buddies since 2013.