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Adaptive Recreation Opportunities

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The City of Fort Collins Recreation Department provides equal and quality recreation for community members with disabiities. Adaptive Recreation Opportunities (ARO) strives to ensure that people with disabilities have the necessary Accommodations or support to participate in any recreation program at their highest level of independence. Specialized programming is also offered to increase opportunities and meet unique needs of individuals. A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) oversees the creation of support for each person and the specialized program offerings made available. So what do you like to do? YOU CAN DO IT and ARO is here to help.

ARO provides unique services and classes to individuals of all ages and abilities. Exciting learning opportunities are available through interships and volunteering.


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Mayor's Award October 15th 2015

The Fort Collins Commission on Disability held it’s annual Mayor’s Awards on Thursday, Oct. 15th at the Fort Collins Sr. Center, to recognize individuals, businesses and service agencies that are dedicated and promote people with disabilities.  Adaptive Recreation Opportunities (ARO) longtime volunteer, Brad Nelson, was selected to receive the “Volunteer of the Year” award for 2015!

Brad has volunteered for the City of Fort Collins Adaptive Recreation Opportunities (ARO) program since 2005. Brad referees for the ARO Unified Basketball league where teams, made up of players of all abilities, compete each Saturday during January and February in Fort Collins. He and his sons assist at the ARO adaptive watersports day at Horsetooth Reservoir each summer, moving equipment and assisting participants to go kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and sailing. Brad and his wife have chaperoned many a restaurant night out for adults with intellectual disabilities, carved the turkeys at the annual Thanksgiving meal,  assists regularly with the adaptive cycling program and serves as a workout partner for an  individual to do drop in fitness at Fort Collins recreation centers.  Brad also has raised money, for the past 14 years, to pay for school age kids with disabilities to go on Adaptive Ski Trips to the Winter Park National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Steve Budner, City of Fort Collins Recreation, was nominated, for the “Employer of the Year” Award, which recognizes an employer who provides authentic work opportunities for people with disabilities.  Although he was not selected, it is a great honor for him to have been nominated.

Meet ARO's Fall interns (PDF)

Emerson Barnett is a Fall 2015 Health and Exercise Science intern. This internship is his final step in completing his degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.  After experiencing what it is like growing up with a disability, Emerson wants to better the community by promoting inclusion in all aspects of society.  While biking across the country to raise money for underprivileged children in Ecuador he stopped by a couple United Cerebral Palsy facilities.  The experience of being welcomed like Lance Armstrong at these places inspired him to push for the inclusion of all people with disabilities.  At the time Emerson knew that he wasn’t special.  He was just in the right place at the right time and had the power to make a difference in other people’s lives moving forward.  Besides his dedication for helping others Emerson enjoys, hiking, biking, going camping, working on and racing cars, weight-training, and playing with his dog.  Moving forward Emerson is excited about what is to come in the future!

Brittany Weissman is a Fall 2015 therapeutic recreation intern. She is from New York and studies at SUNY Cortland. She studied abroad in Australia which is where her love for traveling started. Being new to Colorado she very excited to explore what the Colorado life is like. Brittany enjoys outdoor activities, water sports, and trying new activities. She is excited to be part of the ARO team and work with the community of Fort Collins!



ARO is pleased to provide adaptive recreation programs to Veterans through the support of a  grant  from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Veterans Adaptive Sports Programs.  Programs in archery, aquatics, boccia and iRest yoga will be offered to Veterans free of charge. Check out the 2015 Fall Veteran Recreation Program schedule and register today!

November (PDF)

December (PDF)


The Adaptive Recreation Opportunities program provides quality and equal opportunities for recreation and leisure programs to community members with disabilities. The ARO program offers healthy and fun experiences through the following three basic service areas:

  • Inclusion: The City of Fort Collins welcomes individuals of all abilities into its classes and activities. A Therapeutic Recreation Specialist will help to determine the most effective means of support for people to participate in any program offering. Accommodations may include adaptive equipment, program modification, staff or trained volunteer support. Inclusion is also a great way to enhance public awareness of the capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Inquiries about what type of assistance is available should be directed to Renee Lee at 970-224-6027. NOTE: Requests should be made two weeks before the class begins.
  • Transition: If you need more assistance in making your recreation and leisure choices, but want to be as independent as possible, the Transistion program might be right for you. Explore new experiences, learn about exciting recreation opportunities and meet new people.
    A Therapeutic Recreation Specialist will help you develop you personal Passport to Recreation Profile and discuss your needs, strengths and interests. Call 970-224-6027 for more information.
  • Specialized Program: These programs are open to everyone but are designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. They can also be found in the Recreator and identified by the ARO symbol. The Alternative Programs are designed for adults with intellectual disabilities and focus on community activities and social outings. See the ARO section of the Recreator for a list of current program offerings.


The Recreator is a comprehensive community resource that includes information on City of Fort Collins Recreation facilities, programs, events and activities. It features a diverse collection of community-wide opportunities for all ages and abilities.

The Recreator is published quarterly and is available at in multiple formats on