September Amplify: Deaf Awareness Month
September is Deaf Awareness Month and the International Week of the Deaf starts on September 20th. This time is to celebrate the cultural history of the Deaf community and aims to continue the work of advocating for the rights of Deaf people everywhere.
CorpsThat is a non-profit dedicated to connecting the Deaf community and the outdoors through education, recreation and careers. CorpsTHAT offers online and in-person learning about sustainability, policy, participation, outdoor recreation and education to help advance people’s careers, personal interests, companies, and the outdoor industry. Increasing accessibility to the outdoors and lowering the barriers to entry is an ongoing goal to make the space more inclusive for all.
Our friend Sonya, Deaf Climber on IG, is a great person to check out to see the importance of accessibility in outdoor sports . Sonya is a rock climber, mountaineer, advocate, and the founder of ASL Climbing Network. ASL Climbing Network is a world-wide community of ASL climbers (Deaf, Coda, Hearing) who love rock climbing / mountaineering allowing folks to have outdoor adventures with fellow fluent signers.
Why is outdoor education important for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals?
Deaf and hard of hearing participants in the outdoor education and recreation setting have always faced barriers. The Deaf community might experience economic, social, risk management, legal and accessibility barriers to enter the outdoor space.
CorpsTHAT aims to reduce these barriers for the Deaf and hard of hearing community by providing affordable and accessible outdoor education. All of the outdoor education materials that are accessible in spoken language are not necessarily accessible to the Deaf community. CorpsTHAT has been focusing on converting the documents into American Sign Language (ASL).
The ASL Climbing Network page is a place for Deaf and Hearing climbers fluent in ASL can network. Those who have a passion for the outdoors while using our natural visual language can find climbing and outdoor partners here and even partners for indoor climbing. Creating community in the outdoors is essential for inclusion and making folks find a group to explore nature comfortably with.
What does ASL Climbing Network do?
From beginners to hardcore climbers, indoor or outdoor, all levels are welcome in this Facebook group to find climbing partners using natural visual language to connect. This space allows folks to grow in their sport and is open to all those who are ASL users, Deafs in other countries using their native Sign Languages and Deaf culture.
Connected by enjoying the thrill of the mountains, this space allows people to support, encourage each other, reach goals, and build friendships and teams. From coordinating hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking and mountaineering trips, this portal provides a venue for those wanting specific info, feedback, or advice on any subject.
What does CorpsTHAT offer?
There are so many benefits to experiencing outdoor education and experiential learning, and CorpsTHAT offers both in-person and online courses. This organization converts outdoor education documents into ASL so more people can access it. These documents include how to find hiking routes, intro backpacking, navigation and much more.
CorpsTHAT Stewardship Programs provide Deaf youth from primary to secondary schools with a hands-on volunteer and camping experience where they work alongside Deaf land managers or outdoor experts on various topics.
Resources in ASL
CorpsTHAT have created a range of incredible materials for outdoor education in ASL for people to enjoy and learn about the best way to recreate in nature (including a video on how to go to the bathroom outdoors)! Check out these videos:
-Donate to CorpsTHAT
-Shop their merch
-Hire the CorpsTHAT team for trail maintenance
-Join ASL Climbing Network and share with Deaf and hard of hearing friends
-Follow DeafClimber on IG
-Learn ASL or whatever sign language is most common in your community
-Add captions to all your social posts (here is an awesome How To video)
-Read this sheet on inclusive tips for the Deaf community