Welcome to New York: No Barriers Summit – 2018

Opening Ceremony

On October 4, 2018, hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered to summit together and celebrate living a life of no barriers; they gathered at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a place that embraces innovation.  

Daman and Kyann decided to walk to this destination. However, right before they rolled out the door, Kyann dumped her coffee in her lap. With too much coffee to just wipe off, she now had to change her pants, making them leave–and therefore arrive at the Intrepid–15 minutes late. The long NYC city blocks did not help ease their anticipation of arrival while they counted down the streets they had yet to cross.

Daman and Kyann arrived at the Intrepid to check-in. They picked up their No Barriers backpack filled with a schedule, No Barriers flag, and a t-shirt. They continued on to find a sea of people–their fellow Summiteers–and began listening to the person speaking on stage. There were multiple speakers, including Sam Schmidt and Ice-T; Mandy Harvey also performed.


Activities of the Day

When each person registered for the No Barriers Summit, they had the opportunity to sign up for three different activities. Between the two of them, Daman and Kyann participated in five of the many from which to choose. For the first session, Daman chose to take an improv class while Kyann took a theater class. During the second session, Daman road a bike for two miles through the city and Kyann danced her heart out. They both ended with rock climbing; yes, they both rock-climbed in the middle of NYC–no barriers there.

Daman refound his love of biking and is currently in the process of obtaining his own recumbent bike. At the summit, he discovered the best type of bike for his ability and needs. This was an exciting piece of Daman’s overall experience in NYC.


The Questival

The Questival kicked off that evening, however, for Daman and Kyann, it was not off to a good start; they had not been placed in a team. Even though Daman and Kyann advocated their way into being added to a team, after reading over the tasks required, they determined that the Questival was not an activity in which they wished to partake.

Instead, Daman decided to explore Manhattan with his friend, Nate, while Kyann and her mom navigated the subway system to explore Brooklyn for the day. Read more about Kyann and her mom’s experience here.


No Barriers LIVE

Daman and Nate trekked to Summer Stage at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park to take in No Barriers LIVE. They listened to Mandy Harvey, which Nate thoroughly enjoyed, but the main act was a disappointment. This band was not only not of Daman and Nate’s musical preference but they also encouraged a park of wheelchair users to stand and come to the front. We do understand that this experience was meant to have no barriers, but asking a crowd filled with wheelchair users to stand, may just be a little extreme.


No Barriers within NYC

There is irony in the fact that a No Barriers Summit was hosted in NYC–one of the most inaccessible cities in which Kyann has traveled; it is obvious to Kyann that NYC–in not being accessible to people with disabilities–is the epitome of barriers. Its outdated subway system and ignorant citizens has left what could be considered an incredible city by many, out of reach and filled with frustrations to others. Nevertheless, this is the very reason why a summit such as this should be hosted in NYC.

Those of us who gathered at the No Barriers Summit were there, ready to take on challenges, to face barrier head on and to overcome them. We cannot allow accessibility to stand in our way of enjoying life and exploring new locations. NYC may be filled with barriers, but with the right mindset and ability to problem solve, this city is the perfect place to realize that no barrier is too big to summit.


No Barriers – 2019

Come join us next summer at the Olympic Village in Lake Tahoe, California.