Get to Know Us!
Common Ground Outdoor Adventures (CGOA) was founded in 1993 as an AmeriCorps*VISTA project at OPTIONS for Independence in partnership with Utah State University’s Outdoor Program and Bridgerland Audubon Society. In 1997, the organization incorporated as a private non-profit and has grown to serve well over 3,600 people with disabilities annually. CGOA seeks to increase the accessibility of outdoor recreation and discover creative new ways to access wild places. The organization provides adaptive equipment and support which enables individuals with disabilities to participate in recreation and outdoor adventures. By crossing perceived limitations individuals gain self-confidence, which carries over into the quest for meaningful employment, the pursuit of relationships, and active participation in community life. All outdoor activities include discussions, activities or presentations that foster appreciation and respect of the natural environment.
Recent major accomplishments include:
- Completion of facility slopeside at Beaver Mountain.
- Increased ski lessons by 70% to approximately 700 lessons.
- Implementation of the wildly successful Youth Adventure Leadership Program (YALP) and Jr. Adventurers
- Successful expansion of warfighter programming, serving US military personnel and veterans with disabilities.
Common Ground Outdoor Adventure’s mission is to provide life-enhancing outdoor recreation for youths and adults with disabilities.
To obtain the resources, equipment, facilities, and staff to provide quality physically and financially accessible outdoor recreation opportunities for every youth and adult with a disability that has the desire to participate. We want to do all we can to remove barriers and enhance people’s lives through recreational experiences, while reducing the stereotypes society has about people with disabilities.
Our staff come from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences in adaptive outdoor recreation, and are passionate about helping others get outside!
Samantha (Sammie) Macfarlane
Sammie has been with the organization since 1999. Under her leadership, CGOA has seen monumental growth in all areas and continues to be a tremendous asset to the community. Sammie is passionate about progressing the organization. During her free time she enjoys skiing, river rafting, paddle boarding, and mountain biking with her family.
Heidi grew up in Murray Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with an undergraduate in Human Development and Family Studies and plans on getting a graduate degree in Extension Studies. She loves the outdoors. Nature never ceases to amaze her and feeds her passion for going kayaking, hiking, photography and pickleball with family and friends. Heidi also loves big band swing dancing and looks forward to working with Common Ground.
Alex has been working in the outdoor industry for almost 10 years. After getting his Bachelor’s in Outdoor Leadership, he worked for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center where he discovered his passion for Adaptive Recreation. Since then he has been focusing on working with people of all abilities in a myriad of recreational activities. After spending 2 years in Oregon, Alex found Common Ground and is really excited about being back in the snow and the sun. He is really excited to be exploring the Cache Valley and the rest of the State of Utah with his family and with Common Ground.
Daily Activities Coordinator
Kaitlin Solomon graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She will be receiving her certification to be a Certified Recreation Specialist sometime this fall. Kaitlin enjoys being outside in any form, but especially hiking and rock climbing. She is excited to be with Common Ground and their participants!
Victoria is our BSW Intern. She is studying at Utah State and plans on getting her masters in social work. Victoria is from Bountiful, Utah and enjoys rock climbing, hiking and skiing. Victoria's favorite thing about Common Ground is that she gets to enjoy the outdoors while getting to know different participants on a personal level.
Mike is a Logan, UT native who has been involved with Common Ground for several years. Many of the day to day functions around the office would be impossible without Mike's continued assistance. Thanks Mike!