I am honored to nominate Gregory J. Lais for his pioneering vision and leadership in the field of socially integrated outdoor recreation
that is, outdoor recreation that integrates people with and without
disbilities as peers. Mr. Lais has developed many of the special
adaptive techniques used in adventure programming today, and is
nationally recognized as a leader in the field. He is also known as
the founder of an international adventure travel program, Wilderness
Inquiry, based in Minneapolis. With Mr. Lais at the helm,
Wilderness Inquiry has taken more than 200,000 people with and
without disabilities to some of the most inaccessible places in the
world. Highlights of Mr. Lais's distinguished career include the following:
- Empowered thousands of people with disabilities, in outdoor settings throughout the world, to reach beyond their perceived limitations to achieve things that they never thought possible.
- Helped to change the attitudes of thousands of people without disabilities who might otherwise limit opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Pioneered adaptive curriculum and equipment that enable people with disabilities to participate in outdoor programs.
- Founded the Universal Training Program to educate other service providers in the techniques of integrated programming.
- Through photographs and media articles that have been published in periodicals and newspapers throughout the world, Mr.Lais has promoted the idea that people with physical disabilities can and do have active lifestyles.
- Provided consulting services on accessibility for a variety of groups nationally. Some of these agencies include: Outdoor Recreation and Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Minnesota, Indiana University, Boston University, United States Forest Service, National Park Service, and the National Council on Disability, among others.
- Authored numerous articles relating to access to wilderness for people with disabilities.
~Brian Gustafson, Minneapolis, MN
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