Recreational Opportunities in Memory of Dr. James L. Bristor

Dr. James L. Bristor

Every now and then a leader emerges; someone for whom improving the lives of individuals with disabilities is a passion. Dr. James L. Bristor was such a person. "Doc," as his students referred to him, was born September 5, 1930, in Northumberland, Pennsylvania; he received his undergraduate degree from Waynesburg College (University), a master's degree from West Virginia University, and a doctorate in Recreation from Indiana University.

Dr. Bristor was a leader on and off campus. In the community he was the past president of the Michigan Parks and Recreation Association and Chairman of the Easter Seals Society. At MSU "Doc" was a student advisor, mentor, and professor for over 35 years. Whenever possible, he wove disability topics into his classes. Also, he volunteered at MSU's Adaptive Sports Festivals and served as Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. As a person with a disability, a chronic heart condition brought about by a childhood illness, Doc understood firsthand why athletics and recreation are important aspects in the life of a person with a disability. With this site we celebrate his legacy and help to preserve and further his vision of inclusion for persons with disabilities.


These inspirational stories demonstrate that having a disability does not have to stop a person from reaching his or her potential and achieving goals and dreams. 

Campus Resources

Tower Guard's Shamrock Run-Walk-Roll: Tower Guard is an organization which produces texts in an alternative format for students with visual or learning disabilities. The Shamrock Run-Walk-Roll, a 5K event, is sponsored by the Tower Guard. The event takes place in the spring of each year. All proceeds go to the RCPD Empowerment Fund. 

Mike and others at Shamrock run 09

John and Marnie Demmer Shooting Sports Education and Training Center: The entire facility is accessible and contains adaptive equipment as well as scholarship money for individuals with various types of disabilities.

MSU Triathlon: The team welcomes individuals with varying degrees of ability, including those with disabilities.

Intramural Sports and Recreative Services

Intramural Sports: MSU has a comprehensive intramural sports program that is comprised of three main buildings located throughout campus, IM West, IM East and IM Circle.  Each of these facilities has something different to offer persons with and without disabilities.  For more information please contact Intramural Sports Coordinator James Renuk

  • IM Circle
  • IM West: This is the largest and most accessible of the three IM facilities.  Also, there are two pools that have lifts for individuals who have difficulty getting in or out of the pool.  
  • IM East: There are a variety of fitness classes in which individuals can participate.

Adapted Sports Club logo

MSU's Adapted Sports Club is an organization which gets together to play various adapted sports.  For Spring '09, beginning January 28th, we will be meeting on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:00.  We will be meeting in the first floor gym.  There will be set-up before and clean-up after.  The group plays a wide variety of sports and equipment is provided.  MSU students, faculty, and staff with or without disabilities are welcome to come join the fun.  For more information please contact Virginia Martz, blindness/visual impairment, deaf/hard of hearing, and mobility disability specialist.

Department of Kinesiology: Sports Skills Program: In addition to providing adaptive recreation opportunities for individuals in the community this program provides research opportunities and internship opportunities for MSU students.

MSU Department of Kinesiology: From the department of Kinesiology at MSU students can obtain both undergraduate and graduate degrees concentrating in adaptive physical activity.

Local Resources

East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts: East Lansing has many activities in which persons with disabilities can participate.  There are miles of paved trails and accessible park areas. Further, there is a brand new, state of the art, aquatic park with zero depth pool entry, several types of water slides, and a splash pad area.  For more information please contact Marge Ebright at

Lansing Parks and Recreation: For specific information regarding accommodations and programs for persons with disabilities contact the therapeutic recreation specialist at (517) 483-4291, TDD (517)483-4479

Meridian Township Parks and Recreation: Meridian Township Parks have many accessible playgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, etc.  In addition, the township has recently received a grant for and purchased an all-terrain wheelchair for use on unpaved trails.  The wheelchair is housed at the Harris Nature Center. 

Ingham County Parks Department

Potter Park Zoo: The zoo, part of the Ingham County Parks Department, offers many opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the park.  There is accessible parking, dining, restrooms, and all exhibits are wheelchair accessible.  Wheelchairs are free for use at the zoo and electronic Carts are available for rental.  If additional help is needed, such as guided tours, please call the Zoo to make arrangements.  You can contact the Zoo Administration Office by calling (517) 483-4222 or visit the website for more information.

Eaton County Parks Department: There are several accessible park areas including, shelters, playgrounds, fishing areas etc. For more information please contact the Eaton county Parks Department at (517) 627-7351 or email at 

YMCA of Lansing: These facilities are places where a single person or a family can enjoy a wide variety of physical activities.

Local Therapeutic Horse Riding Centers are excellent places for persons with disabilities to gain muscle tone, balance, confidence, and have fun doing it. These are also great places to do some volunteer work.

Michigan State Wheelchair Tennis Club: The MSU Wheelchair Tennis Club meets every Monday night from 6:30-8:00 pm in the Indoor Tennis Facilities.  Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Coach Gene Orlando.

State Resources


These resources provide opportunities for individuals with various disabilities to engage in many different adaptive recreational activities.

Challenge Mountain: This ski area in Northern Michigan provides equipment and ski lessons to individuals with various types of disabilities. Participants can also experience hiking, camping, and more.

City of Southfield Parks and Recreation--Adaptive Recreation: Southfield offers a wide variety of opportunities to participate in adaptive physical activity. Check out the Southfield Special Forces and the Miracle League. For more information please contact Claudia Brewer at (248) 796-4673 or e-mail

City of Westland Parks and Recreation--Therapeutic Recreation: For information about the city of Westland's Therapeutic Recreation program please contact Westland Therapeutic Recreation Program office at (734) 722-7620 or e-mail

Clinton County Parks and Green Space Commission: For information about Clinton County's Parks and disability issues please contact the Parks and Green Space Commission Coordinator - Gerald Jaloszynski at (989) 224-528 or

Michigan Adaptive Sports: Michigan Adaptive Sports offers activities such as skiing, kayaking, and camping.

Michigan Ski for Light: This is a nonprofit organization which provides opportunities for cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities for individuals with disabilities.  

Michigan Sports Unlimited: This organization exists to promote physical activity in the lives of persons with disabilities and to empower individuals to achieve any goal to which they set their minds.

Michigan Victory Games: This is Michigan's premiere athletic competition for individuals of various abilities.

Munson Medical Center's Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program: This program contains such unique opportunities as tree climbing, sled hockey, and dog sledding.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation: Oakland County is a leader in adaptive recreation and offers many adaptive recreational opportunities.  On staff, there are 5 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.  For more information on the adaptive recreation programs please call (248) 858-7596 or email

Passing Along the Heritage (P.A.T.H.): This organization works to bring outdoors events such as hunting and fishing to children of all ages and backgrounds. 

Programs to Educate All Cyclists: In their own words, "Programs to Educate All Cyclists' purpose is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by using cycling for transportation, integrated recreation, fitness, and therapy."

The Fowler Center: The Center provides many activities and camping experiences for persons of all ages and abilities. 

Wheelin' Sportsmen: An organization for outdoor enthusiasts with disabilities.  The organization allows all to enjoy fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting by overcoming barriers that prevent or limit those with disabilities. 

Michigan Athletic Associations

Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame

Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association

Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports

Michigan Blind Athletic Association

Michigan Recreation and Park Association

Michigan Wheelchair Athletic Association


Attending camp is a wonderful way to keep active, enjoy new experiences, and to meet new friends. Here is a list of several camps around Michigan that welcome individuals with all kinds of disabilities.

Camp Grace Bentley

Camp Pioneer Trails

Camp Tuhsmeheta

Indian Trails Camp

St. Francis Camp

Other Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources: This is an excellent source to learn about outdoor recreation opportunities around the state.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources--Accessible Recreation: This site refers to topics that are related to accessible, outdoor, recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Michigan Disability Resource Directory: This is a site where you can search for disability related products and services.

National/International Resources

Adaptive Adventures: Headquartered in Colorado, Adaptive Adventures provides opportunities for persons with many types of disabilities to experience outdoor adventures around the country.

American Dance Therapy Association: Mind and body are intertwined and dance/movement therapy can help persons of all ages and disabilities connect socially, physically, and emotionally with their own bodies and with others. It is used in mental health, rehabilitation, educational, medical, and forensic settings.

American DanceWheels Foundation: This foundation incorporates persons with and without disabilities in ballroom, latin, and line dancing.  

BlazeSports: This is an organization which provides opportunities for persons with disabilities to be physically active. These include clinics, training programs, competitions, camps, and educational opportunities.

C-Different Foundation: This foundation connects athletes who are blind and visually impaired with guides to help them achieve their athletic goals. Also, the foundation is dedicated to research and community outreach.

Camp Abilities: This is a one-week developmental sports camp for individuals who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf/blind.  They offer such activities as archery, horse riding, goalball, beep baseball, and more.

Deaflympics: These games allow deaf athletes to participate competitively in a fully inclusive environment.

disABILITY Information and Resources--Sports, Training and Competition: This site provides links to various organizations around the country and around the world.  

disABILITY Information and Resources--Travel and Recreation: This site provides links to various sites on accessible travel. It also provides many links to sites that offer unique travel experiences.

Dwarf Athletic Association of America: The organization was founded in 1985 to enable persons with one of the many kinds of dwarfism to participate in athletic competition.

Easter Seals: This is an organization that provides camps and other inclusive recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Also important to Easter Seals is community education and outreach. 

Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association: This program offers camps, clinics, and competitions for athletes with disabilities in the Great Lakes Area.

International Blind Sport Federation: This organization is committed to promoting athletic opportunities for persons who are blind and visually impaired. The I.B.S.F. is a member of the International Paralympic Committee as a representative for athletes who are blind or visually impaired.

National Ability Center: This organization also offers many different recreation opportunities. Among these are archery, skiing, horseback riding, and water sports.   

National Beep Baseball Association: This sport was invented for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. You can learn much more about beep baseball by visiting the N.B.B.A. website.  

National Federation of the Blind Sports and Recreation Division: NFB has many divisions that cover a wide variety of topics.  With the Sports and Recreation Division, you can learn about upcoming events, read the newsletter and join a listserv that allows you to connect with others who are interested in sports and recreation for individual who are blind or visually impaired.   

Paralympic Games: This is an international athletic competition for individuals with physical and visual disabilities.  Summer and winter games are held every four years following the Olympic Games.

Ski for Light, Inc.: This is an organization which teaches persons who have mobility or visual disabilities from around the world to cross-country ski.

Special Olympics: Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to foster acceptance and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  

United Spinal Association--USA Techguide, Accessible Travel: This site offers a lot of information on accessible travel opportunities; both national and international. 

United States Association of Blind Athletes: The USABA provides opportunities for persons who are blind or visually impaired to participate in sports; competing against athletes who are both sighted and non-sighted.

United States Power Soccer Association: Information on the sport of power soccer, about the teams, camps, clinics, and more. 

USA Deaf Sports Federation: The USADSF provides many athletic opportunities, including international competition, for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.  

U.S. Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association: Learn about the sport, PowerHockey. You can learn information about the rules, leagues, and the PowerHockey Cup.

Wheelchair Sports, USA: This organization offers a variety of wheelchair sports opportunities around the country.  

Adaptive Sports Equipment

Access to Recreation, Inc.

Be Adaptive Equipment, LLC

Spokes n' Motion

USA TechGuide

General Information

These resources provide information about living with a disability and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--Disability and Health

The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability

Therapeutic Recreation Directory

The RCPD recreational opportunities site was inspired by James Bristor and made possible by the generous gifts of many.  You can make a gift online in support of this initiative or visit our Financial Contributions page to learn more about supporting RCPD programming.  You may suggest additions or enhancements to the content by contacting our Public Relations Coordinator