“Get those creative juices pumping!” said Lisa Feltz, owner and operator of Meltdown DiY Art Studio, as she welcomed each social clubber into her shop.
Prior to starting her own business, Lisa was a special educator in the school system for many years. And her experience shows! One-by-one she greeted each participant with a smile and engaged in a conversation that was seamless and unique to them—guiding them in choosing the best colors that fit their style.
Then, we stepped right up for a brief introduction to pottery glazing 101! “No lights on darks. Darks on lights.” Got it. “Glaze is not paint. It will dry differently.” Understood.
We were led back to our table and we glazed our bowls, plates, and mugs. Besides Lisa offering her continued expertise and support throughout the glazing process, the best part of the night was simply sitting, painting, and talking.
That is the purpose of social club, right?! Conversations are scary sometimes. What do I say? How do I start? What do we even talk about? Sometimes connections are hard to make. Luckily, activities bring us together and help bridge that gap!
“What are you painting?!”
“Hey! That looks cool!”
“Can I borrow that color?”
“You’re making a superman symbol?! I love superman!”
Social clubs, quite literally, give us something to talk about! From there, we can use these skills and apply them to the real world. Plus, it’s fun!
Before you know it, the room is filled with chatter and laughter—with companionship and
The only sad part of all of this was that it had to end! Plus, we had to practice our patience
waiting to see our finished product after they were heated in the kiln!
All in all, an amazing social club!
Barrier-Free highly recommends Meltdown DiY Art Studio in Eldersburg!
Thank you, Lisa, for a great experience!
What a long, fun-filled day we had at Hershey Park on Saturday! After meeting at the Westminster Community Center, the 20 Barrier-Free social clubbers piled into staff cars and rode to Hershey Park!
The first stop everyone made? The Chocolate World Tour, of course! The groups divided and followed the journey of how Hershey's chocolate is made--from cocoa beans to shipping. The ride included singing cows, talking chocolate, and a small treat at the end! It was a great way to start the day, and gave everyone a chance to see, smell, and learn about the chocolate-making process!
After Chocolate World, we made our way into Hershey Park. There was so much to do and see. Some of our more adventurous friends--led by our adventurous staff member, Britt, went immediately for the big rides! They chose to do the sooperdooperLooper, the first ever looping roller coaster on the East Coast. It’s a 57-foot tall coaster with one big vertical loop, followed by all sorts of dips, drops, and bunny hills. Other social clubbers, who love thrills, but not loops, rode the Wave Swinger, a classic ride that allows riders to fly through the air and see the park. The third group, those of us who aren’t big fans of rides all together, had some lunch while we waited.
Our second stop was Reese’s Cupfusion-- a video game-based ride where gamers are secret agents tasked with protecting the chocolate factory to ensure that the world never goes without the Reese’s Cup. Our agents did exceptionally well, and everyone came out with a smile on their face.
The entire group went together to ride the Monorail. With open windows, we were able to see everything as we rode above Hershey Park, ZooAmerica, and historic downtown Hershey. We even saw the actual Hershey factory! It was a pleasant ride, and a nice midday break before going back to coasters.
The sun started to set when we exited the Monorail, and the holiday lights came on! There were lights everywhere! Santa’s Sleigh could be seen on top of the Comet, being pulled by all his reindeer, and all the trees lit our way as we walked to our next adventure.
Britt led her thrill-seekers to the Sidewinder-- a coaster that goes forwards and backwards, for a total of 6 loops! The rest of us enjoyed Founder’s Way, a section of the park that holds amusement classics such as the Carrousel, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Scrambler. Skyview, a ski lift that brings riders over the park, was a fan-favorite. Social clubbers bought keychains, clothing, and candy for souvenirs!
Below is a short video of some of our friends getting ready to ride!
We finished our day back at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Exhausted from such an action-packed day, we found some tables and got some dinner. We exchanged stories and heard all about roller coasters and shopping! A few people asked if we were going to come back. We certainly hope so!
After dinner, we packed up and walked back to our cars. We continued sharing stories from the day, of friendships that were created, and the fun times that were had. We met everyone’s parents/counselors back at the Westminster Community Center and bid them farewell.
We are so happy with how the day went! We were thrilled to see the fun that everyone had. We are approaching the end of the year, and can’t wait for our next social outing in January at Meltdown DiY Art Studio in Eldersburg, Maryland!
Barrier-Free's November social outing was full of friends, delicious food, and wonderful times!
We were also fortunate enough to host this Social Club outing on a a Greene Turtle Funds with Friends fundraiser day! Barrier-Free earned 20% of the bill for anyone who dined at Greene Turtle in support of Barrier-Free.
Here are some highlights from the social clubs hours (6:30 - 8pm). If we missed you earlier in the day, we appreciate your support and presence.
Social Clubbers having an awesome time together!
Our waiter Kevin was incredible and such an asset to the Greene Turtle team.
Barrier-Free families coming out to support and take in the good times!
Pictured above: Actors Gary & John, and the Boyle and Nuzzo families.
Pictured below: Actor Jenny with her boyfriend, Richard, and support staff, Jenny Yingling.
Smiles all around from our Barrier-Free bunch!
Pictured above: Actor Geoffrey and the Wolf Family.
Pictured below: The Silverman Family.
Support throughout the community!
Pictured above: McDaniel Staff, Jill Millison & Melanie Conley, from the Student Accessibility & Support Services (SASS) Office and co-workers of our Creative Director, Britt Burr, supporting Barrier-Free's work!
Pictured below: Ernie & Darlene Burr, parents to Britt & Lauren, spreading their Barrier-Free love!
A special thank you to The Arc Carroll County for sending in so many clients to enjoy a meal together in support of Barrier-Free!
Pictured below: An Arc client enjoying her night out!
We'll see you at our next Social Club!
It was a brisk fall night when our Barrier-Free social clubbers met at the entrance of Screamland Farms, Maryland’s Premiere in-your-face haunt for our first Social Club outing!
Our first stop was the food stand. To warm up before the sun went down, friends filled up on chicken tenders, fries, and hot chocolate. Then the real fun began! Some of us sat around a bonfire to stay warm (and away from the scary). Britt took the rest of the group to the spooky things. Their first trip was through the Hayride of Haunts, where participants sat in a truck bed full of hay, and rode through the dark as monsters tried scare them. The group even saw Sam, a Barrier-Free actor, when he jumped up out of the cornfield. One social clubber, Grace, said that a crazy clown offered her a “haircut,” but it would entail cutting off her scalp as well! Needless to say, we're very glad Grace didn’t take her up on that offer.
Unfortunately, photos were not allowed on the Hayride, but trust us when we say it was spooky!
We also had a huge surprise while waiting at the bonfire! Langston, our newest social clubber and long-time friend, arrived! We were so excited to see him! After everyone caught up on the happenings of the hayride, Langston joined the crew on the walk-through of Barn of Bedlam. I personally can’t say what went on inside the house, but from the outside, we heard screams and saw a very large man with a bloody apron and chainsaw chase our friends out of the building! So scary!
Check out the video of everyone’s reactions below!
After the barn, some of us waited in line for a fortune teller. The rest walked around to see some of the haunted displays. Then our night came to an end. We waved goodbye to everyone and told them how much we were looking forward to seeing them again.
We are so grateful to everyone who showed up and made our first Social Club outing of the year a huge success.
Our November meetup will be held at The Greene Turtle in Westminster. It will also serve as a fundraiser to raise money for future programming! .
Social Club Forum Recap
On Thursday September 26th, Barrier-Free participants, families, counselors, and friends gathered at the Westminster Community Center to discuss and collaborate about the future of Social Club - while enjoying some ice cream!
Together we brainstormed a long list of potential social club outings.
Here's what was shared:
Over 35 in attendance at our Barrier-Free Ice Cream Social!
We also discussed some key points including - what we wanted to get out of Social Club, days, times, transportation, and cost.
What We Want to Get Out of Social Club:
**Unfortunately Barrier-Free is not a large service agency and does not own company vans/vehicles. We brainstormed some transportation options.**
Barrier-Free Staff getting set-up for Ice Cream Social!
Pictured left to right: Sandra Roll (Board Treasurer, Concessions Manager, mother to Britt & Lauren Burr),
Laura Stall (Barrier-Free Content Creator, Board Secretary)
In the coming days, we will announce the outings, dates, and costs for Barrier-Free Social Clubs in October, November, and December.
By announcing in advance, it is our hope that Social Clubbers and families can plan accordingly for dates, costs, and transportation.
Announcements will be made via email, website, and social media.
Make sure you're on our email lists and social media to be the first to hear!
It might seem relatively easy to think about how to treat people with disabilities with respect. But sometimes, we do things that we don't necessarily realize aren't proper etiquette. So what is the proper etiquette when engaging with the disability community? Read on!
First of all...people with disabilities are just that: people. The Golden Rule of "Treat Others the way you'd like to be treated" applies everywhere. There's no *special* way to talk to them. Just talk to them. But, there are some small intricacies to be aware of.
Person-First Language: The person comes before the descriptor. Therefore, you wouldn't say "a disabled actor." We say "actors with disabilities." This type of language emphasizes the person first, not their disability. Disabilities can be seen as part of someone's identity, but it's not their entire identity. Sometimes, it's important to think about whether a disability really needs to be addressed at all.
A second reason why this is important is to avoid generalizations. One may not mean anything if they were to say something like "The disabled" or "The autistics," but that erases the identities of the people whom they are actually talking about. "People with Disabilities," and "People with Autism."
Wheelchair Bound vs. Person Who Uses a Wheelchair: People are not bound to their wheelchairs. They are not restricted to wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are often actually quite liberating to people with physical disabilities, because it provides them mobility.
Wheelchair Etiquette: A wheelchair serves as a person's legs. Unless you have explicit instruction from the user or their companion (if the user is nonverbal), you should not attempt touch or attempt to move the wheelchair. If you want to offer help, offer it only if you can see that the user is struggling to do something. But remember that touching other people's bodies unsolicited is always inappropriate, and since the wheelchair often serves as legs, it's inappropriate as well.
Conversations: You can have conversation with someone who uses a wheelchair the same way you do with anyone else; just look at them and talk. Try not to bend over or kneel down just to talk to them--this can be patronizing--and if you can, sit to be at eye level. But don't take any extra steps that you don't need to; it's just a regular conversation! And avoid asking about the wheelchair--unsolicited questions like "So how do you do xyz?" are inappropriate.
Companions or Counselors
Some people with disabilities are frequently accompanied by counselors or companions. If you have a question for the person with the disability, just ask them. I personally have worked with children with disabilities, who were perfectly capable of verbalization, and had other people ask me a question about the child. If the intended target of the question can't answer for themselves, their counselor will step in. But don't immediately assume that a person with a disability can't answer for themselves! Even if they are nonverbal, talk to them, because they will very likely pick up that you are treating them like children, by talking about them to someone else instead of right to them. Address everyone!
Some Final Quick Tips...
Don't ask someone what their disability is.
Don't stereotype disabilities! While some people with disabilities will have shared qualities or behaviors, don't assume everyone with that disability will,
Don't assume every person with a disability needs the same type of accommodation.
If you have questions, the CDC offers this table of the "do's" and "don'ts" of language used for and with people with disabilities.
We at Barrier-Free work tirelessly to ensure we have an open, accommodating space full of respect for others. It's important to educate others, and correct them when needed.
We can work together to make a friendly world!
Published by Laura Stall
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