Over 45 Years of Success
BORP was co-founded in 1975 by Susan Sygall and Diane Schechter.
Susan was a student at the University of California Berkeley where she was doing an independent major focusing on Recreation under the Conservation of Natural Resources department. Diane had just completed a BS in Recreation from the University of Colorado
Susan who is a wheelchair rider, was shocked that Berkeley, an innovative city which was the leader in the independent living movement, had virtually no recreation programs for people with disabilities. For her university class she designed an innovative recreation program that would offer a range of programs as well as the support services needed to facilitate participation. At the suggestion of her professor, she submitted this as a proposal to the City Council. After Diane, completed her degree, she joined Susan in Berkeley, in anticipation that the proposal would be funded.
The Berkeley City Council enthusiastically funded the proposal and the Berkeley Outreach Recreation Program (BORP) was created. It was originally housed at the Center for Independent Living (CIL) and later moved to the University of California campus.
Susan and Diane subsequently received funding for another proposal for a wheelchair sports program at a nearby school for disabled children, with the philosophy of having people with disabilities teach the courses so they can also serve as role models.
BORP was a huge success in the community and became nationally known for its innovative approach to recreation. Programs included swimming, gymnastics, camping, horseback riding, dancing, rafting and day trips. Later, a day camp was added, called Camp Kryptonite, with disabled counselors who served as role models
After two years with BORP, Susan received a Rotary scholarship to study in Australia for a year. She completed a Master’s degree at the University of Oregon and co- founded Mobility International USA (MIUSA) whose mission is to advance leadership and disability rights globally. Susan later received a MacArthur fellowship for her innovative leadership.
Diane continued to direct BORP until 1978. She then completed a Master’s degree at the University of Oregon. She worked for Eugene Parks and Recreation coordinating programs for people with disabilities. She later became the director of the Willamalane Adult Activity Center, where she served for 32 years.
Susan and Diane would like to acknowledge and thank all those who worked tirelessly its early years to make BORP a reality and all the directors and staff who have since made BORP a world renowned program with innovative activities that are changing the lives of thousands of people with disabilities.