Katherine Griffin

“You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be.” – Michelle Obama

One of the most anticipated British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) summer activities each year is hiking, where participants explore the breathtaking parks that surround Vancouver. The BCMOS hiking program offers individuals with disabilities the chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and sunshine. Among the numerous dedicated volunteers who breathe life into this impactful initiative is Katherine Griffin, whose journey with BCMOS embodies the spirit of inclusivity and community service. 

Katherine’s introduction to BCMOS was a ripple effect of her sister’s involvement in the kayaking program. “I actually heard about BCMOS through my sister, Sarah,” Katherine shares. “She attended a presentation on BCMOS programs during her undergrad at UBC. Inspired, she signed up for kayaking, and I followed suit, volunteering for hiking.” 

Since then, Katherine has been a steadfast presence in the hiking program, ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to nature’s wonders, helping clients navigate the trails of Pacific Spirit Park and beyond. 

Despite the challenges posed by the sometimes-rugged terrain and logistical hurdles, Katherine’s dedication remains unwavering. She fondly recalls a particularly adventurous hike in Lighthouse Park, where perseverance and teamwork led to an unforgettable summit after navigating roots, rocks, and steps. “There was this sense of accomplishment when we reached a beautiful viewpoint,” she recalls with a smile. “Seeing the participants’ joy made all the sweat and challenges worth it.” 

Katherine exploring Iceberg Lake at Whistler
Exploring Iceberg Lake at Whistler

When asked about her personal growth through volunteering, Katherine shared that her journey with the BCMOS hiking program is more than just lending a helping hand; it’s about embodying her passion for accessibility, community, and nature. Reflecting on her volunteer experience, she shares the profound impact it has had on her life and perspective. 

“For me, volunteering with BCMOS hiking is an opportunity to contribute to a range of things that I care about,” Katherine explains. “This includes accessibility and disability rights, fostering community, and facilitating access to nature and hiking.” 

With each trail she navigates alongside clients, Katherine finds herself growing more aware of the diverse needs and experiences within the community. “Working with so many different clients has been really helpful in continuing to expand my awareness of what is accessible, what is inaccessible, and what concrete strategies we can implement,” she explains. 

Through her volunteer work, Katherine not only advocates for accessibility but also takes tangible steps towards making a difference. “Whether I’m advocating for change or physically assisting someone on the trail, it’s become a huge part of my life,” Katherine admits. 

Her journey shaped her perspective and deepened her commitment to inclusivity. “I continue to grow that perspective through volunteering,” she says with conviction. 

Katherine remains committed to volunteering despite her busy schedule. Having dedicated her time to BCMOS for the past couple of summers, she reflects on her journey with a sense of fulfillment. “I wish I had more time,” she admits with a chuckle. “But I’m hopeful that the program will continue to expand its offerings, like more destination hikes, making nature accessible to even more individuals and volunteers.” 

Katherine hiking at Bryce Canyon
Katherine hiking at Bryce Canyon

As the interview comes to an end, Katherine’s enthusiasm to continue her journey of impact shines brightly. “Being a part of this community is important to me,” she shares. “I’m excited about recruiting more friends to volunteer with BCMOS and exploring opportunities to contribute to outdoor activities that provides accessibility.” 

In the realm of volunteering, Katherine embodies the spirit of compassion and camaraderie. Her journey with BCMOS is not merely about lending a helping hand; it is about building bridges between communities and fostering a sense of belonging for all. 

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week later this month, we will recognize volunteers like Katherine, whose efforts deserve thanks and acknowledgment. Their selfless actions inspire us to reach out, lend a hand, and make a difference—one individual with a disability, one trail, at a time.