Angelo Misuraca, Peta Hooke, and Leigh Ware from the YMCA
A NEW YMCA program is giving people with disabilities the chance to see the beauty of Australia, and the world, with fun group travel experiences.
The Escape program, run by the not-for-profit organisation, encourages people with disabilities, their families, friends and carers to holiday in places like Canberra, the Gold Coast and Tasmania, with plans to offer international travel in 2017.
Teen Angelo Misuraca, who has an acquired brain injury after a motorbike crash, said the program gave him opportunities that were not available elsewhere.
“The people from YMCA really encourage me and they help to lift my mood,” he said.
Mr Misuraca, 19, has been on three trips with YMCA Escape and also acts as a volunteer mentor on camps for younger people on the YMCA/Headstogether Camp, who also have acquired brain injuries.
YMCA Escapes Program manager Anthea Warlond said the program offered unique and accessible opportunities allowing everyone in the community to participate, including people with disabilities.
She said there were limited opportunities in the travel industry for group travel for people with disabilities that offered both accessible and inclusive activities.
“YMCA Escape aims to achieve holidays that are measured on social impact for success rather than on profits and advocates for more inclusive tourism opportunities for people with disabilities to participate,” she said.
Ms Warlond said Escape used a combination of staff and volunteers who were committed to ensuring everyone in the community had the same opportunities.
They also have a social club which allows people to reconnect through travel.