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Member Spotlight: Mr. Patrick Firlik

Patrick FirlikGlacier

Founder, Limitless Adventures

Limitless Adventures
Mission:  “Enrich and transform the lives of people with disabilities by providing outdoor recreational experiences”

 

 

“The world is big and I’d like to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir

HaleakalaJohn Muir would approve of the many adventures Patrick has taken in his life, from hiking in 19 U.S. national parks to traveling to 35 countries. Clearly, not inclined to sit around, since moving to San Diego in July, 2020, Patrick has visited 6 more national parks and founded a nonprofit, all outside of his day job.  For a man who can often be found doing something outdoors, Patrick’s passions have coalesced into founding Limitless Adventures, a nonprofit that brings outdoor recreation to San Diegans with disabilities. As avid as Patrick is about the outdoors personally, he is equally enthusiastic about facilitating opportunities for others to create community in the beauty of nature.

Death ValleyPatrick has always prioritized making time to volunteer; he has volunteered with numerous organizations while  living in Ann Arbor and Chicago, and has particularly enjoyed working with people with disabilities. Even before moving to San Diego, the idea was forming to create an organization he could dedicate himself to beyond being a routine volunteer. Patrick identified an underserved niche in San Diego – outdoor recreation, beyond team sports, for people with disabilities. While the organization has started with hiking, his long-term vision is to offer a range of outdoor activities, such as biking, kayaking and beach outings. Patrick was inspired by nonprofits in other cities and states that specialize in “adaptive recreation” – using adaptive equipment to enable people with disabilities to participate in a wide variety of activities, some as extreme as whitewater rafting, downhill skiing, and summiting mountains at 14,000 feet.

YosemiteWith the launch of Limitless Adventures’ first hike in early February, 2021, Patrick set out to fill this need for accessible outdoor recreation in San Diego. A group of about 25 people (participants along with volunteers, family members, and caregivers) traversed the wheelchair-accessible trail around Lake Miramar. Many satisfied hikers returned for the second hike a few weeks later at Grasslands Loop in Mission Trails Regional Park, and the group doubled in size from the first event to approximately 50 people. Splitting into smaller groups, social distancing, and wearing masks, Limitless Adventures’ mighty team of 5 is delighted with the success they’ve had in engaging participants in a safe, social, and fun setting. The past year has been isolating and lonely at times for many of us, and even more so for people with disabilities who often face logistical challenges in leaving the home and exercising.

Limitless Adventures is thrilled with the amount of repeat participation and bonds of friendship already forming, and proud of what its participants, some of whom have never hiked before, have achieved. By empowering, challenging, and inspiring its participants, Limitless Adventures is creating experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

Limitless Adventures activities are targeted at individuals with all types of disabilities, high school age or older. The organization is currently offering hikes at least once a month. If you or someone you know would like to participate in a future hike, or are willing to support the organization as a volunteer or donor, please contact Limitless Adventures via their website.

When not guiding a hike or consulting clients at ZS, Patrick finds his zen on the scenic trails of Torrey Pines State Park (his favorite hike in San Diego).IMG 20150409 175227694

Michigan Football
Patrick grew up in Grand Rapids, went to Michigan (Ross) undergrad, worked in Chicago for several years, and attended Northwestern (Kellogg) for his MBA. He is happy to have left behind the snow and cold for the sunshine of San Diego, but will always cherish his Midwestern memories!

Growing up in Michigan, Patrick was groomed as a UofM fan from day one. He started attending football games with his dad in 4th grade and hadn’t missed a year cheering in the Big House until the restrictions of COVID in 2020 prohibited that. While an undergrad at Ross, Patrick went to almost every football and basketball home game. He was the treasurer of the Maize Rage, organizing theme nights and road trips to cheer on the men’s basketball team at home and away games. Northwestern never swayed his allegiance from his Wolverines!

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