GEAR UP FLORIDA 2021
Since 1997, over 500 Pi Kappa Phi men have participated in Gear Up Florida. Each year, the team raises over $80,000 to benefit people with disabilities. Gear Up Florida was created with one mission in mind: to reach out to as many people as possible across the state of Florida, spreading a message of acceptance and understanding on behalf of people with disabilities. Gear Up Florida has served that mission well by creating an event that is touted as “The best two weeks of programming The Ability Experience has to offer.”
For many people with disabilities, isolation can have a substantial impact on one’s sense of self and well-being. After riding an average of 75 miles a day, our teams are dancing, playing games, or leading campfire songs at a friendship visit with a local group that supports people with disabilities. For many of our partner organizations, our team’s arrival each year is something folks anticipate like a holiday. Gear Up Florida is a unique program that also has the ability to draw the attention of local media in markets across the county. This platform enables us to spread a message of awareness and inclusion everywhere we go and help showcase our partner organizations to broader audiences than they could on their own. Our team also provides additional support to organizations through grants each year.
THE JOURNEY: MIAMI – TALLAHASSEE | 14 DAYS | 800 MILES
One state, countless memories. This 800-mile cycling event kicks off on the shores of Miami, travels through the Florida orange fields, reaches the Gulf coast, passes through Orlando, comes back to the Atlantic coast, and culminates at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. The team spreads a message of acceptance and understanding to communities in Florida through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups, and community leaders, reaching millions of people annually.
This year, the Gear Up Florida team made two friendships visits while in Jacksonville. Their May 27th ride in was welcomed by the members of the Adult Day Training Program in Green Cove Springs, followed by an outdoor picnic sponsored by Firehouse Subs. After a tour of the Green Cove Springs production facility, the team made their way to Club Challenge in Orange Park. Club Challenge hosted a field day in the newly created event space, The Courtyard at Kingsley. The afternoon concluded with another send off as the Gear Up Florida Team prepared to get some much-needed rest for the evening before continuing their journey to Tallahassee.
The Ability Experience’s vision is to change the way society views people with disabilities. The Ability Experience provides grants to about 200 organizations serving people with disabilities representing communities in 41 states. Financial support allows The Ability Experience to continue providing hands-on community building, fundraising and empathy-promoting activities to improve the lives of young men and people with disabilities all across the country. All of this happens because of the generosity of people like you.