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An Update on Operation APA

Big dreams in the pipeline

An Update on Operation APA

By Alana MacLeod on November 25, 2021

If you haven’t heard about Operation APA (Authentic Positive Awareness), it was begun by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and officially launched on January 4th, 2021. Its mission is to create a mutual, authentic movement highlighting positive influences within our society. Operation APA aims to fill the void of positivity that was left in the wake of the past year’s obstacles.

This ongoing third-party fundraiser has been underway since early this year and we thought we’d touch base with Dave Sagal, a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and a founder of Operation APA. Dave answers a few questions for us surrounding the movement and more.


Q: What motivated you to start Operation APA and keep it going?

A: Initially I had planned to work with my Kappa Sigma brothers to organize our annual head shave campaign with a goal of raising enough for us to be able to donate a Bowhead Reach to RMA. I began working with with my brothers and we soon realized that we could dream bigger.

We decided to incorporate the head shave into a bigger picture. The pandemic was in its ninth month when we started talking and we noticed that it had taken a toll on the chapters mental health as the fraternity’s ability to come together in person. [The inability to gather together was a] major contributing factor as to why the head shave [nearly didn’t happen.]

Fortunately myself and Marshall Weinberger came up with APA as more of a mantra that has now turned into a successful fundraising initiative.  

What motivates me to keep it going is the abundant need for both authentic positive awareness for the adaptive community as a whole and my own journey of healing that specifically RMA & the Bowhead have played a part in.  

Q: Why do you think access to adaptive equipment like the Bowhead is important?

A: From my own experience I found it hard to fit in to our world after my injury. I also found it hard to identify as an athlete. Wheelchair sports were not something I particularly enjoyed, I personally wanted to spend as little time in my chair as possible.

I still remember vividly the moment of complete freedom that I enjoyed on the Bowhead and how “I don’t even feel paralyzed in this thing.” Something I blurted out only 30 minutes into my first experience on the bowhead.

The major barrier to a piece of adaptive equipment such as the Bowhead is both the cost and the environment to learn properly and safely how to use the equipment. The importance of being able to access this equipment easily through an organization such as RMA was amazing in that I felt that barriers to enjoying the outdoors were being removed as opposed to being put up. I believe strongly that empowering individuals is the best way to help someone.  Having access to this type of awesome equipment is a great way for people to have that sense of empowerment.


Dave sits in a wheelchair with a Bowhead Reach behind him

Q: What do you wish more people understood about disabilities?

A: I wish that people would stop looking at the person as the one with the disability and realize that it is our environment that is truly disabled. I don’t see myself as disabled, I had a catastrophic injury to my spine that left me with out the use of my legs but in no way am I disabled. I just now live in an environment that is not universally designed to accommodate my needs.  

Q: Anything else you want to share about APA?

A: I’m excited for the next steps and the next pieces of equipment we will be raising money for.  We still have 3 more pieces of equipment we’d like to fundraise for after the RX and then from their we want to start to raise funds so as to get get as many “butts in seats” as possible with our bursary.

So far, Operation APA has raised over $10,000 as well as been successful in spreading positivity far and wide.

Inspired by this Story?

If this story has inspired you to get involved in adaptive sports, we have a large range of accessible adventures available to you.

Join In the Fun

Want to join the fun and give back? Volunteering with Rocky Mountain Adaptive is a great way to support your community while assisting others.

Struggling with Mental Health?

If you are struggling with mental health, there are many great resources in the Bow Valley. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Make a Difference

You can make a difference to the growth of adaptive sports by donating to the Clairey Lou Memorial Fund & Matthew Hamer Legacy Fund. Thank you.

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