Aug 7, 2023 3 min read

Empathy Is Key - Week 5

Chris Sparrow engaging in adaptive sports: golf, mountain biking, kayaking, snow skiing + a quote from the interview.
EMPATHY is the secret sauce to effective equity and inclusion. - Christina Sackeyfio

Welcome to Week 5 of the Inclusive Community Outdoor Challenge!  View the full challenge here where you can view past weeks and navigate via the table of contents. You'll also be able to find transcripts for all the weeks' audio on this page.    


See the outdoors through someone else's eyes.

Reach out to someone you know who might experience the outdoors differently from you, or face barriers to access the outdoors. Listen to their story and learn about their experience.


  • What has been their experience being active, accessing public spaces, and getting outdoors?
  • What barriers have they faced, or still face? How did they overcome those barriers?  What changes do they wish to see to make the outdoors more inclusive for themselves and others?
  • Some thoughts: It is best to choose someone you already know and who you feel would be comfortable sharing their story. Be respectfully curious. This is not about your challenge or your story, but about deeply listening to their story. Make your conversation an advice-free zone. It is not about problem-solving or saving, just listening.

Feel free to reach out or comment about how this challenge has made you see things differently. (You'll need to sign in to comment)

-My Experience

For this week's challenge, I spoke with Chris Sparrow. Chris is an adaptive athlete and disability advocate whom I have known now for a few years. Chris has helped me better see both the benefits and barriers those with a disability face when getting outdoors. He has also forever changed my view of what's possible in adaptive sports. I had no idea adaptive mountain biking and adaptive golf even existed. I'm grateful Chris was so open and willing to share his story. Not to mention the great pictures!

In the audio for my week 5 experience, I've included a short excerpt from my interview with Chris. To hear my entire conversation with Chris, click on the 2nd link, which will take you to the full interview along with its transcript and show notes.

-Additional Thoughts

Empathy is feeling WITH people. - Dr. Brené Brown

Want to become a better listener? In her article, How to Become an Empathetic Listener, Kaitlyn Skelly suggests these 4 steps:

  1. Understand their perspective: Start by asking about how they are doing or feeling.
  2. Be curious: Be intentional about asking open-ended questions so we don’t impose our ideas on others, but are listening to their ideas instead.
  3. Identify emotions: Listen and observe how the person responds to our questions and focus on the emotions they express through words and body language.
  4. Summarize: Confirm that you’ve heard what they’re saying, by summarizing what they’ve said, and asking, “Do I have that right?”

Thanks for reading. If you're interested in building a more inclusive community and world, I'm sure you know others who are too. Please share this newsletter with a colleague or friend.

This newsletter is a publication from State of Inclusion.

Ame Sanders
Founder of State of Inclusion. A seasoned leader & change-maker, she is focused on positive change within communities.
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