Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro invites residents of every ability to enjoy the County’s inaugural ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fitness Day, hosted at Dutchess County’s Bowdoin Park on Thursday, July 22nd, highlighting the health of people of all abilities, fitness and nutrition. Complimentary lunch will be provided for all participants at this free event, which begins at 11 a.m. and will include various field games, fitness activities and attractions, and each participant will receive a medal.
In addition to fitness activities, representatives from several County departments, as well as community providers, will be on hand to inform families about the network of programs and services available throughout Dutchess County and beyond for those with disabilities.
Pre-registration is required for this rain-or-shine event, and residents, families and providers can register online at dutchessny.gov/tdfieldday; more information is available by calling (845) 486-3568. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks or face coverings are not required for those attending this outdoor event, regardless of their vaccination status.
County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Dutchess County is proud to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about residents of all abilities, and more than ever, it’s important to care for our health and fitness. Though residents with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dutchess County has never wavered in our commitment to helping them reach their fullest potential. Dutchess County is proud to offer our first ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fitness Day, combining our highly successful picnic and race for those with special needs into one exciting event. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces in person on July 22nd at Bowdoin Park – we’ve been apart far too long!”
Launched by County Executive Molinaro in 2015, the ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative seeks to change the way individuals, businesses, organizations and communities relate to their neighbors with all abilities. More than 100 communities throughout New York State, and several more across America, have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, pledging to foster a more welcoming and inclusive environment for residents and visitors with special needs.
The ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fun Day is Dutchess County’s latest fun and engaging countywide event for residents of all abilities and their families. Collaborating with Dutchess County Government, the Dutchess County Agricultural Society will host its fifth “ThinkDIFFERENTLY Thursday” the Dutchess Fair on Thursday, Aug. 26th, featuring early entry for those with special needs and no flashing lights or loud music on the midway throughout the morning.
In 2016, Dutchess County hosted the first ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash run/walk through the City of Poughkeepsie, which became an annual event prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering participants with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities with a race of their own through downtown Poughkeepsie.
Dutchess County has hosted an annual picnic for residents with special needs and their families since 2013, providing them a day of a care-free day of fun, great food and live music, as well as the chance to make new friends and connect with agencies and organizations that can greatly impact their lives.
Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue and Bee Bee the Clown are among the local attractions with whom ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fitness Day participants can interact.
Dr. Toni-Marie Ciarfella, Dutchess County’s Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs, said, “We thank the Dutchess County Government staff, our many supporters and volunteers, and those who have contributed their time, talents and resources to make our ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fitness Day a success. Our community has enthusiastically embraced our efforts for years, and we look forward to providing a great day of healthy recreation for our friends and neighbors with developmental and intellectual disabilities.”
Bowdoin Park is located at 85 Sheafe Road, Poughkeepsie; ThinkDIFFERENTLY Field & Fitness Day will take place at the park’s lower soccer fields, adjacent to Pavilion 1. Attendees are encouraged to enjoy Bowdoin Park’s many amenities following the free event, including the refreshing splash pad.